30 December

Video: New Year’s Countdown: The Mansion

by Jon Katz

The Mansion held a New Year’s celebration Thursday for the residents, they hold it early because some  people will be away with their families. Some don’t have any families to go visit, or any families who live nearby.

We all counted down from 10, and then blew on horns and noisemakers. It was a subdued celebration, there was, as is usual, cake, punch and cookies. I had the loudest voice, I think it isn’t the most festive holiday for the residents, the passage of time is not something they usually cheer.

I asked several of the residents what New Year’s meant to them

“I don’t like to think about next year too much,” one told me. “I’m happy now, but I don’t dare to think about next year. I live in the moment, like they say.”

Another said New Year’s was a sad holiday for her, she used to sit up and watch the ball fall in Times Square, but her husband, sister, and favorite aunt have all passed. “I’ll be in bed by 8,” she said, “I don’t think much about the old days. I do miss my famiily.””

One man said he looked forward to New Year’s Eve at the Mansion. “It is quiet here, and peaceful, no noise, no driving, no show and ice. I’ll make some New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s bad luck to say what they are.”

Time and resolutions are tricky things at the Mansion. The holidays are family times for most people, and most of the Mansion residents don’t have families they can celebrate with, even if they do have families around.

The future is uncertain, unpredictable.  Some said they wanted their health to hold up, others said they had learned not to wish for things too far down the road.

Connie told me that a couple of months ago, she said she was too old to make New Year’s promises, she might not be around. And she wasn’t.

I enjoy these holiday gatherings, I like to serve cake and punch and help clean up. The Mansion is a safe and welcoming place for people who badly need homes and are often alone. A new residents needs clothes, and I will get some over the weekend.

I wished everybody a Happy New Year, and I want to thank the Army Of Good for brightening to many lives there.

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