Ruth, Edith, and Lorraine, the centenarian “Golden Girls” of Atria West 86 in the Upper West Side of New York, have received a lot of media attention since celebrating their 100th birthdays together. Featured in People, ABC News, the New York Post, and other major outlets, the three friends raised three glasses of champagne together – commemorating the occasion, as well as having lived through the pandemic safely. As Ruth told People: “I think I was born under a lucky star. We’ve gone through this together. I’m just thankful I was here to get a vaccine.”
We decided to sit down with Ruth, Lorraine, and Edith to learn their secrets to leading a long happy life.
After graduating from NYU’s School of Education, Ruth worked as an elementary-school teacher. Later in her career, she studied braille and taught visually impaired and disabled children. She’s passionate about golf, travel, opera, ballet – and all that New York City has to offer. Since she’s been at Atria West 86, Ruth has made lots of friends with both residents and employees alike. (“The staff is great!” she said.)
When asked about her greatest accomplishment, Ruth said, “My two children, of course.” Ruth – a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother – moved from Florida to Atria West 86 to be closer to her family. During the celebration at the community, which featured banners, balloons, a giant cake, and the Atria staff singing multiple renditions of “Happy Birthday,” Ruth was reunited with her son, Andrew, who flew in from California and saw his mother for the first time in two years because of COVID-related travel restrictions.
Ruth never misses an Atria West 86 social hour on the penthouse terrace, and she loves marveling at the New York skyline. This social butterfly’s senior lifestyle includes outings to concerts, guest lecture series, and opera recitals. “Life goes by too fast, so enjoy each day to the fullest,” Ruth said. “You have to laugh!”
Edith (AKA “Mitzi”) graduated from Brooklyn High School and the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. She started her career as a secretary in the office of her future husband, an attorney, and is a lifelong lover of theater, traveling, concerts, and museums – especially the Museum of Natural History in New York.
Edith advised to not waste any time complaining. When asked what her most cherished accomplishments are, she answered immediately – her two daughters, who she said are devoted, kind, and loving. To Edith, family has always been her top priority.
An accomplished mezzo soprano with the Metropolitan Opera chorus in New York for 20 years, Lorraine performed with all the top singers of her day – including Robert Merrill, Renata Tebaldi, and Luciano Pavarotti. Today she remains an avid bridge player. Like Ruth, Lorraine is grateful for all the friendships she’s made at Atria, including with her Resident Services Assistant, Felicia, who she refers to as her “angel.”
The centenarian celebration also afforded Lorraine the opportunity to reconnect with her niece, who, due to the pandemic, she was only able to talk to over the phone or via Zoom. Lorraine also enjoyed going to a birthday lunch that her friends from the New York tennis circuit threw in her honor.
So what’s Lorraine’s advice? “Do what you love, what you’re passionate about, and commit to it – it should bring you tremendous joy!” she said. “It’s been a wonderful life.”
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about Atria, visit AtriaSeniorLiving.com/FindACommunity to discover the location nearest you.