By Ed Vilade
There are a lot of New Yorkers at Riderwood. You can hear variations of that familiar accent in the halls, dining rooms, classrooms and almost anywhere around campus. And on the second Thursday of each month in the Village Square classroom, the presence of the accent — and the attitude — intensifies as the New York Club holds its monthly meeting.
“Our purpose is to meet Riderwood neighbors who share some of our New York memories,” says Helen Helm, one of the group’s founders. “We’ve had meetings with people who went to the same school, church, movie theaters, playgrounds, who worked in the same buildings, ate in the same restaurants, drank in the same bars, and so on.”
The club frequently shows movies about the history of New York. Recent subjects include street games of New York, the rise and fall of Penn Station, filmed walks through the Bronx, Central Park and up Broadway, and one on Coney Island.
“Sometimes we hear from residents who have visited New York and show us pictures or videos of their trips — places such as the High Line and the Botanical Gardens, among others. They all generate some interesting memories and stories.”
New Yorkers Helen Helm and Barbara Stroud founded the club in 2011, and Helen carries on as club president. The club started with 61 members, and the list has grown to 101, although some regular attendees don’t have email and are not on the list.
Although they now meet in the Village Square classroom, the club met every other month at one of Riderwood’s bars for egg creams and discussion for several years after its founding. They had to stop the bar meetings, Helen says, “…when other residents complained about the noisy New Yorkers.”
Helen adds that club membership is not limited to those who lived in New York City, but is open to those who commuted to jobs in the city, and to those who lived in upstate New York, “…or anyone else who loves the city.”
Club meetings are listed on the MyErickson activities calendar, and on Clubhouse bulletin boards, among other notification methods.
“We hope to see all those with an affinity for New York at a future meeting,” concludes Helen.