Mission & History

The Charles Simon Center for Adult Life & Learning recognizes that adults require and deserve particular attention to their unique educational, social and developmental needs.

Educational activities and lectures for adults have been offered in many different forms ever since 92nd Street Y was founded in 1874. 92Y's cultural arts program, including lectures and classes, was first developed in 1934 with the arrival of William Kolodney as Education Director. The program curriculum matured over the next 35 years of Dr. Kolodney's innovative tenure and established a firm foundation for today's activities.

The Simon Center encompasses several program areas. Perhaps most visible is the lecture series. Here, under one roof, leaders from government, the arts, media, science, business and religion gather to discuss the top issues of the day, making the center New York's preeminent "salon." We present as many as 250 speakers annually, and in the past, such luminaries as Dr. Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Margaret Thatcher have appeared on 92Y's stage.

The center also offers diverse personal growth, career development, humanities and language classes.

Senior adults have special needs and are particularly vulnerable to loneliness and social isolation. The center offers an extensive program for adults over 60 that addresses their physical, psychological and intellectual well-being. The program has served older adults in the community since 1950.

The acclaimed 92Y Residence also runs under the auspices of the Simon Center. Dormitory programs have been a part of 92Y since 1911. In 1968, with the completion of the 92nd Street building, 92Y doubled its accommodation capacity and incorporated the 92Y Residence. The Residence today provides secure, affordable housing for over 350 young men and women. While most of their counterparts are forced to establish their lives in New York on their own, 92Y residents are able to test the waters of independence in a warm and supportive community.

Taken together, the many programs of the Charles Simon Center for Adult Life & Learning celebrate the potential of every human being while building bridges between individuals and the larger community in which they live.


Mission Statement


Consistent with the established principles and purposes of the 92nd Street Y, the Charles Simon Center for Adult Life and Learning recognizes that adults require and deserve particular attention to their unique educational, social and developmental needs. Towards these ends, the center will offer programs that seek to increase general knowledge, encourage personal and spiritual growth, and advance social awareness within the context of a stimulating and supportive environment. The Center will serve as a resource within and outside of 92Y through consultation, coordination and advocacy.


  • Be a forum for open consideration of varying viewpoints on both timeless and timely social, cultural and political issues
  • Provide educational opportunities through classes, workshops and other appropriate formats
  • Foster mental health and assist adults in negotiating the stages of their lives
  • Offer a variety of opportunities for comfortable socializing and socialization
  • Encourage acculturation of new Americans through personal and group programming
  • Stimulate social awareness and participation in civic life
  • Provide consultation to assure that the most current and creative thinking on adult learning, and the life stages, is incorporated in the center's and Y's approach to adult programming
  • Act as an advocate for appropriate programming, ambience and staffing for adults throughout the 92Y
  • Coordinate services to adults throughout the 92Y
  • Provide staff training to all personnel on issues related to adult learning and life stages
  • Seek partnerships with community organizations regarding issues surrounding the adult population

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