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Himan Brown Senior Program

The Himan Brown Senior Program fosters creativity, lifelong learning, wellness and community through a wide variety of classes, lectures, programs and special events in a relaxed, congenial environment.

Members pay an annual fee, which gives them access to more than 65 classes each week in areas, including: fitness, bridge and chess instruction, art, music, literature, writing, technology, dance, drama and current events, as well as discussion groups and language conversation circles. Membership also includes specially priced day and weekend excursions throughout the year and discounted tickets to select 92Y events.

The Himan Brown Senior Program is staffed with professional, licensed social workers and counselors who are available to provide information, referral, and supportive counseling to members and their families.

In addition to the professional staff, the Himan Brown Senior Program has an advisory board made up of program members. The board also includes a number of member led committees, including: social action, marketing, special events, theater desk, trips, orientation and development, through which members can become involved.

The faculty of the Himan Brown Senior Program is made up of highly trained and talented instructors, many with advance degrees, who bring with them a wide range of specialties, expertise and experiences.

92Y Himan Brown Senior Program is endowed through a generous grant from the Himan Brown Charitable Trust. Major support for the Himan Brown Senior Program is provided by: the estate of Kathryn W. Stein; The Margot and Adolph Friedlander Endowment; the estate of Dorothy and Sol Smolen; the Sylvia and Marvin Rubin Family Foundation; the estate of Mildred Goldberg; The Derfner Foundation; The Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg Foundation; Virginia and Dr. Mark Silver; Barbara and Martin P. Klein; Gloria Ann Katz, EdD; the Office of the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Department for the Aging.

“The 92Y senior program has offered a fabulous volunteer opportunity for my 12 year old son. He now realizes giving back can be rewarding and fun.”
— Parent of child in Intergenerational Matching Program

“I’ve talked with many people who have told me that the 92nd Street Y saved their lives...I am a testament to it.”
— Elinore Kamen, Member

“I don’t know what I would do without this place.”
— Maxine Kahn, Member

“The 92nd Street Y provided a place for my mother that was an independent world, where she had friends ... and her own community. It gave her a purpose.”
— Paula Silver, daughter of Himan Brown Senior Program member

“5,000 Hats? Y not?”
By Leslie Petrovski, Yarn Market News

Himan Brown Senior Program members knitting

Last fall, the senior knitting circle at the 92nd Street Y in New York City reached an important milestone: 5,000 hats knit for charity. The senior knitting circle, which has been meeting since 2011, was the inspiration of Phyllis Greenwald, a member of the Y’s Himan Brown Senior Program, who recognized the role knitting can play in keeping seniors mentally active and engaged.

Serving up to 700 people at any given time with dozens of programs every week, the Y’s Himan Brown Senior Program functions as a kind of lifelong-learning mini-versity, offering classes, lectures and other events to seniors ages 60 and older, explains program director Jo Frances Brown. Every Wednesday, 25 members of the knitting circle gather to knit hats for premature infants and cancer patients, work on individual projects or drop off what they’ve made. The group’s oldest member, 98-year-old Anita Sherman, knits one hat every night.

“We offer people instruction and camaraderie and free materials and whatever they need,” says Brown. “It’s a feel-good thing—creative and social and focused.”

The knitting’s circle’s first batch of 40 hats was donated in September 2011 to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pediatric Day Hospital. Since then, hats have been distributed to New York–based institutions including New York-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, Mount Sinai West and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, as well as hospitals nationwide including Vassar Brothers Medical Center—Dyson Center for Cancer Care, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center—Pediatric Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and more.

Last year the group set the goal of making 5,000 hats by November 28—Giving Tuesday—which was instituted at the 92nd Street Y. The group more than met its goal.

“This is something that keeps people active, especially when they are home alone,” explains program assistant Dafna Gorfinkle. “We have goals we are trying to hit, and we find new places to donate; it keeps the project fresh and exciting. It’s a wonderful social activity, and we’re happy we’re able to give back.”

Other Highlights

Ruth Bader Ginsberg's trainer reveals her secret workout
The New York Post

"Recording Life To Hold Onto Time" – Doug Brin
The Jewish Week

Dear Jazz, I love you, says musician’s latest work
The Riverdale Press

Looking at Older Years as a Time to Speed Up, Not Slow Down
The New York Times


Listen to fitness instructor John David with members of the Himan Brown Senior Program morning fitness class on NPR's "Morning Edition" here.

Contact Us

For registration information, please contact the Himan Brown Senior Program office: 212.415.5633 / email