Watch out, whippersnappers: the city might have it in for you and your fast walking, dangerous ways. In order to make New York friendlier to the elderly (and their wallets), the city has been implementing "age-friendly" projects like giving pedestrians more time at crosswalks and using school buses to shuttle the elderly to grocery stores. And now they're planning to create two "aging-improvement districts," presumably where the damn kids will finally stay off their lawns.
According to the The New York Academy of Medicine, elderly folks want most to live in a city where "it is safe to cross the street and where the corner drugstore will give them a drink of water and let them use the bathroom." The Academy has developed maps of the city, rating neighborhoods on age-friendly criteria like access to transportation, "walkability," and sidewalk cleanliness. Traditionally elderly-populated neighborhoods like the UES rank high on most of the maps, while neighborhoods in the upper Bronx and eastern Queens offer little in terms of easy access to transportation and other necessities.
But Linda I. Gibbs, New York’s deputy mayor for health and human services, says that making the city age-friendly doesn't mean there will be a shuffleboard court on every corner (though that would be awesome). She tells the Times, "The whole conversation around aging has, in my mind, gone from one which is kind of disease oriented and tragic, end- of-life oriented," to being "much more about the strength and the fidelity and the energy that an older population contributes to our city." Also, the money. The AARP estimates that though just a third of the nation's population is over 50, they control half of the country’s discretionary spending.
So what would these neighborhoods have that would be so age-friendly? Besides the tap water, focus groups have suggested installing "perches" outside of stores in case an older person needs to rest while out doing errands, printing menus with larger type and having businesses identify themselves as elderly-friendly with stickers in their windows. They even suggested having old-people happy hours at bars, though that may just appeal to the "cougars" of the bunch.