FORT HAMILTON, Brooklyn (PIX11) – Members look forward to karaoke every Friday at the Fort Hamilton Senior Recreation Center. It not only gives them a chance to sing and dance but also gives them some quality time during, what may be, an isolating period in their lives.
Billy Castiglie turns 96 next month and loves visiting the center.
“When I come here, I experience joy and happiness,” Castiglie said.
Members dance, sing, and socialize. It’s a great way to break out of their shells, but most don’t need help doing that.
“It’s never too late to have fun,” Valerie Vislocky, the recreation director, said. “You’re never too old to have fun. They have a really great time.”
Patricia McGuire is a new member who is in a new phase of her life.
“Experiencing this level now has been so rewarding in such a different kind of way and I’m happy to be a part of it,” McGuire said.
Patricia De Santos comes with her 91-year-old father.
“My mom’s not here,” De Santos said. “My mother loved to dance and sing, and we always had parties when we were younger, so it was always in the culture to dance and sing and it brings joy instead of you just sitting there and not participating.”
The center also provides guided workouts. Maureen Cadri suffered a stroke and the classes keep her active. Being part of a community has her coming back every week.
“Just get up,” Cadri pleads to other seniors. “Get out of the house. It’s so important. I was a nurse [for] 54 years at Maimonides [Hospital] and I know how important it is,” Cadri said.
The center has become a second home for many.
“We would be stuck at home, and you can’t be by yourself,” Castigle added. “God meant for us to be there for one another.”
The center also provides youth programming on the weekends and during the summer. Memberships also grant access to all 35 recreation centers throughout the five boroughs, so families all over the city can have the same experience.