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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 by a generous grant from the Himan Brown Charitable Trust. Major support for the Himan Brown Senior Program is provided by The Derfner Foundation; The Marilyn & Jeffrey Katzenberg Foundation; and The Kathryn W. Stein Endowment. Additional support is generously provided by The Margot and Adolph Friedlander Endowment; The Mildred and Emanuel Goldberg Endowment; Lorraine and Gerald Goldman in memory of Marie Abrams; Gloria Ann Katz, EdD; Barbara and Martin P. Klein; The Marvin and Sylvia Rubin Family Foundation; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; Virginia and Dr. Mark Silver; and The Dorothy and Sol Smolen Endowment.

“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

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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

Instagram

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

Staff

Julia Zeuner, LMSW

Program Director

Julia Zeuner, LMSW, is a licensed geriatric social worker with years of experience working with older adults at community based agencies, nursing homes and senior centers.

Samantha Donoso

Program Coordinator

Samantha Donoso has worked in the department since 2007. She has a B.S. in Health Administration and is working toward a master’s degree in Human Services and Leadership.

Dafna Gorfinkle

Program Assistant

Dafna Gorfinkle is the latest member to join the Himan Brown Senior Program’s staff.

Erica Shein, Esq.

Intergenerational Program Coordinator

Erica Shein holds a JD from Brooklyn Law School and a BA in French and Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania.

Faculty

Ryan Allen

World Events

Ryan Allen is a doctoral fellow in International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ginette Becker

French Conversation Circle

Ginette Becker was born in Paris and immigrated to the United States in 1951. Ginette graduated from Temple Medical School and practiced medicine for many years in the New York City area.

Rima D. Bien

Fitness

Rima D. Bien is a certified instructor of Pilates, Yoga, Senior Fitness, Zumba and Personal Training. She is currently completing her B.A. in Theater and Dance Education.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Poetry Writing Workshop

Sally Bliumis-Dunn teaches Modern Poetry at Manhattanville College and at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival.

Javor Bracic

The Art of Listening to Music

Javor Bracic holds advanced degrees from the University of Mozarteum, Salzburg under Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and Mannes College, New York under Pavlina Dokovska, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts at City University, NY under Ursula Oppens, Richard Goode and Norman Carey.

Doug Brin

Brinsights

Doug Brin brings his background as a newspaper feature writer and school instructor of both History and Ethics to his weekly current events discussion group.

Lori Brizzi

Ballroom Dance

Lori Brizzi was a Theater major in college who followed her passion and trained as a dance teacher.

Alain Buzzard

Yoga

Alain Buzzard has taught German, Comparative Literature, Teacher Training Courses, ESL, speech, technical writing, research writing and Women's Studies in various universities in the USA, Germany, Mexico, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Cesare Civetta

Music

Cesare Civetta has conducted more than sixty orchestras in sixteen countries.

Jim Coll

American History

Jim Coll is an adjunct professor of American and Constitutional History at Nassau Community College.

Kareem Collins

Fitness

Kareem Collins is an experienced senior fitness instructor. He facilitates the Parkinson’s Exercise Program (PEP) in the May Center and the Platinum Sneakers Program at Long Island University.

Mary Copeland

Fitness

Mary Copeland is a former professional dancer and has been teaching dance and fitness in New York City for more than 30 years.

Joan Delahunt

Chorus

Joan Delahunt is a classically trained singer, choral director, pianist and organist, with a specialty in composition for musical theater.

Valerie Downing

Fitness

Valerie Downing has been a fitness instructor for 25 years. Her certifications include ACE Personal Trainer, AFAA, IM=X Pilates and Yogafit.

Donelle Estey

Painting and Drawing

Donelle Estey joined the faculty in August 2015. She holds an MFA from California State University and has had her art work exhibited at galleries throughout the world.

Ellen Friedman

Bridge Instructor

Ellen Friedman has taught bridge at the Manhattan and Honors Bridge Club for the past seven years and has been teaching at HBSP since November 2014.

Robert Goldman

Bridge

Robert Goldman has played in most American bridge tournaments and has written four books on bridge.

Seth Gopin

Art History

Dr. Seth Gopin is an Art History Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, where he also served as Director of Global Programs and Associate Dean for undergraduate education.

Carmella Gullo

Drawing

Carmella Gullo is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.

Hermi Hanlin

Bridge

Hermi Hanlin is a bridge life master and ACBL certified director. She successfully participated in many local, regional and national bridge tournaments.

Barbara Haspel

The Art of Listening to Music

Barbara Haspel is a lyrico-spinto soprano who has performed throughout Italy opposite many renowned singers.

Tina Janssen-Spinosa

Legal Consultation

Tina Janssen-Spinosa is a staff attorney and program coordinator for Total Life Choices, the advance planning program at NYLAG.

Jess Joseph

Medicare, Patient Advocacy

Jess Joseph earned his Certificate in Patient Advocacy from UCLA and a BA in Humanities from the University of Chicago.

Steve King

Chess

Steve King, who has degrees in elementary education and history, has been teaching chess to children and adults for almost 20 years in schools, summer camps and senior programs.

Lucy Kirk

World Events

Lucy Kirk had a 33-year career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations.

Scott Klavan

Drama: Acting Workshop

Scott Klavan is a Lifetime Member of The Actor’s Studio and a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio where he was a two time winner of the Paul Newman trophy for Best Actor.

Richard Larschan

Literature

Richard Larschan is an English Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts. He earned his PhD from UC Berkeley with a dissertation on Jonathan Swift.

Sokie Lee

Qi Gong

Sokie Lee is a certified T’ai Chi Chih instructor and has been practicing Qi Gong for 20 years.

Gordon Levin

World Events and American History

Gordon Levin is the Dwight Morrow Professor of History and American Studies, emeritus, at Amherst College where he focused on American diplomatic history and Israeli history.

Howard Levinger

iPad

Howard Levinger is a long-time lover of technology. He works as VP of Sales and Marketing for IntegrateNY, a computer consulting firm, and is an Apple certified expert.

Arielle Levioff

Piano, Art of Listening to Music

Arielle Levioff pianist, has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall and internationally in London, France and Italy.

Ellen Love, LCSW

Drop-In Groups, Necessary Conversations

Ellen Love earned her Master’s degree in social work from Fordham University and later studied at Hunter School of Social Work: Brookdale Center on Aging and Training Institute for Mental Health earning a certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

Eric Michelson

Painting

Eric Michelson moved to New York City after college to continue his studies at the Art Students League.

Jim Minet

Painting and Drawing

Jim Minet is an artist whose work has been exhibited at The Firefly Artists Gallery in Northport, NY, The Art Students League of NY and The Vanderbilt Planetarium.

Jane Nadboy

Mah Jongg Instructor

Jane Nadboy has been an early childhood educator and a senior adult programmer at a Jewish Community Center where she reconnected with her love of Mah Jongg.

Monty Olenick

Men’s Retirement Rap Group/Senior Walks

Monty Olenick joined the HBSP in 1999 and has become an important part of our program, volunteering as the facilitator of the Men’s Group.

Carolyn Perkins

T’ai Chi Chih

Carolyn Perkins is an accredited T’ai Chi Chih instructor, a graduate of the Swedish Institute and a certified Ingham Reflexologist.

Danny Pollock

Israeli and International Folk Dance

Danny Pollock has been teaching folk dance for more than 30 years at JCCs, synagogues, dance camps, dance weekends, festivals and special events.

Frances Richey

Poetry Workshop

Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections: The Burning Point (White Pine Press, 2004) and The Warrior (Viking Penguin, 2008), and the creator and editor of Voices of the Guard, published in 2010 in honor of the Oregon National Guard.

Elly Roth

Living with Low Vision

Elly Roth worked as a systems analyst for many years before retiring.

Simón Saad

The Art of Listening to Music

Simón Saad was born in Colombia and was educated in Italy and the USA.

Erika Safran, CFP ™

Financial Wellness Seminars

Erika Safran is founder of Safran Wealth Advisors, a financial planning and investment advisory firm in Manhattan.

Leo Schaff

Simply Shakespeare

Leo Schaff studied speech and theater at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is a member of The Shakespeare Society of New York.

Susan Scheuer

World Events

Susan Scheuer has degrees in Modern European History, Music Education and Conservation Biology.

Zach Seeger

Painting and Drawing

Zach Seeger is a painter and sculptor working in Brooklyn and upstate New York.

Erica Shein, Esq.

Discussion Group Leader

Erica Shein leads a book club monthly, a French conversation class weekly, and a discussion class called, Shoot the Breeze, which discusses goings-on internationally, nationally and within the city.

Robert Silverman

Jazz

Pianist, trumpeter and composer Bob Silverman has been a fixture on the New York Jazz scene since 1985.

Ruth Albert Spencer

Chamber Music

Ruth Albert Spencer is a graduate of the Mannes College of Music and is on the faculty of CCNY as well as the 92nd Street Y Music Department.

Janet Sullivan

Women’s Drop-in Group

Janet Sullivan, LP, LCAT, is a New York State Licensed Psychoanalyst and Music Therapist with many years’ experience leading different types of groups.

Ana Sussman, RN, MFA

Yoga

Ana Sussman has been teaching and practicing Yoga and Meditation for 30 years.

Mark Ethan Toporek

Film Series

Mark Ethan Toporek, a member of the Actors Studio, has appeared in films including The Secret Lives of Dentists, The Confession and Lesser Prophets.

Lili White

Painting

Lili White received a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Mark York

Musical Theatre Workshop

Mark York, originally from Oklahoma, has worked in the Broadway-New York theater scene as a director and composer for the past 25 years.

Contact Us

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