Park Slope

Not Only For The Stroller Set, Park Slope Just Got A Lot More Age-Friendly For Older Neighbors

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Age-Friendly Park Slope
[L-R] Judy Willig of Heights and Hills, Jeannette Rodriguez of Local Roots, Council Member Brad Lander, Matt Kantack of JuiceLand, and Greg Bernarducci of O Live Brooklyn. (Photo by Donny Levit / BKLYNER)
Pay attention to the stickers that are being applied in glass windows all over Park Slope. And we mean all over.

About 60 local businesses have joined Age-Friendly Park Slope, a new partnership which spans the neighborhood and officially began on Monday, October 24.

The program was started by a collaboration between Heights and Hills, the Park Slope Center for Successful Aging, Good Neighbors of Park Slope, and Council Member Brad Lander with the goal of making our area as friendly to older neighbors as much as it is to the stroller set.

Age-Friendly Park Slope is set to bring recognition and ease to older residents who live and patronize small businesses in the neighborhood. Benefits range from discounts being given to seniors to a bathroom for customer usage. And some of these new criteria don’t usually serve as issues for younger residents.

For Judy Willig, Executive Director of Heights and Hills, there are also great benefits to businesses that are involved in the partnership. “Older people tend to be loyal customers,” she said. “It makes good business sense to be age-friendly.”

“With just some simple changes, most businesses can enjoy increased foot traffic and business from Brooklyn’s senior population,” said Mark Caserta, Executive Director of Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.

Age-Friendly Park Slope
Greg Bernarducci and Elizabeth Weiss of O Live Brooklyn. (Photo by Donny Levit / BKLYNER)

Greg Bernarducci, owner of O Live Brooklyn, agrees. “This is what we do already. We’re happy to be here in the neighborhood to help out all of our customers.”

Bernarducci and Elizabeth Weiss have been selling specialty olive oil and balsamic vinegar since they opened in 2014 at 140 5th Avenue (near Douglass Street).

“There is much more we can do to make our neighborhood welcoming and accessible to older residents,” said Lander, at an opening event which took place at O Live Brooklyn. “We love being a neighborhood that has historic buildings. And we love being a neighborhood that has small businesses which will welcome neighbors of all ages. We’re thrilled to join a historic movement.”

After Council Member Brad Lander secured funding for the program, community organizer James Bernard led the development.

For Ruth Finkelstein, Associate Director of Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University and Professor of Health Policy and Management, she believes that the initiative won’t go unnoticed by outside communities. “The whole world is watching for the successful local innovations that come out of neighborhoods — for good ideas to bring back to their home countries around the world,” she said.

Age-Friendly Park Slope
Greg Bernarducci of O Live Brooklyn attaches the first “Age-Friendly Park Slope” sticker to the store’s door. (Photo by Donny Levit / BKLYNER)

More information about the program can be found at the Age-Friendly Park Slope page on the Heights and Hills website. A brochure is also available to learn about the participating businesses and how a business can become part of the program. Business owners can contact the partnership directly at [email protected].

Neighbors can take advantage of this week’s special offers to commemorate the beginning of the program:

• Tuesday: Dance class at the YMCA, (357 9th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues)
• Wednesday: Cooking class at O’live Brooklyn (140 5th Avenue, between St. John’s & Sterling Places)
• Thursday: Painting class at Pinot’s Palette (382 5th Ave, between 5th and 6th Streets)
• Friday:  Age-Friendly Wine Trail. Special wine-tastings at 4 Age Friendly wine stores from 2pm-3pm. (see the brochure for more details)

Local Roots Hair Salon (493 7th Avenue near Prospect Avenue) owner Jeannette Rodriguez is a lifelong Park Slope resident and committed to partnering with the program. “I’m humbled to help my neighbors,” she said. “It’s like having an extra set of grandparents to be there for me.”

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