This is Arthur
It is May 9th, and it's Mother's Day. Sitting in Central Park on that breezy sunny day, I was sure to run into some older people who were alone on a day that draws out all sorts of emotions. But no such luck. Only one woman with a sign saying that every day is Mother's Day. After an hour of sitting in the park, I decided to head home. And there on 69th Street and West End Avenue was Arthur, waiting to cross the street on his way home.
A pair of binoculars was hanging around his neck, and I took that as an opportunity to start a conversation. I asked Arthur if he was a birder and he said yes. He was on his way back from birding in the Park. I asked if he had seen any birds. He took out a piece of paper with a long list of birds, most of which I had never heard of, all of which he had seen in about three hours at Central Park.
Arthur likes to shop in Brooklyn and Queens. There are just certain foods that can't be found anywhere else, including Manhattan. Kissena Blvd. in Flushing has many of the supermarkets and food centers he likes, but he can't get to Queens or Brooklyn anymore. So, he orders for delivery.
Arthur has been retired for 8 years. He had been a librarian at Seward Park High School (my mother's alma mater.) He never married and has no children. In addition to being a very active birder, he has many friends in Lincoln Towers with an active social life. He proudly told me that one of his friends is our Congressman, Jerry Nadler.
Arthur lives alone, now that his father is gone, but he does not feel alone. He finds solace in his passion for birding and being good friends with good people. Arthur knows how to grow old and get out looking for new friends - feathered and otherwise.
Arthur is 73 and had been living with his father in Lincoln Towers. His father passed away a few years back at the age of 94. I thought I noticed a tear in his eye as he was telling me about his father. Or, it may have been from the cool wind that was blowing, but I don't think so. He said living in Lincoln Towers is living like in a NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.) He asked me if I know what a NORC was. I told him I did; I am a social worker. He said that one of the best things about living in the Upper West Side was that you could throw a stone in any direction and find a doctor. He believes it is even easier on the Upper East Side, but here, not too bad. He loves that the Lincoln Towers is halfway between Lincoln Center and Zabar's