'Old age is not for sissies': 89-year-old New Yorker looks forward to dance parties

·1 min read

(Reuters) - Eighty-nine-year-old New Yorker Bob Holzman received his COVID-19 vaccine as soon as he could, hoping it would allow him to get back to his favorite activity - dancing.

Over the last 75 years, Holzman has danced his way around the city's events to the rhythms of swing, fox-trot, samba, and salsa.

And until last year, he had never missed a Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing opening and had been a fixture at city dance parties.

When the pandemic struck in March of 2020, Holzman found himself stuck at home. He occupied himself reading electronic books on loan from the New York Public Library and playing scrabble online with friends.

But now he is looking forward to getting back to normality.

"It was a joke from, I think, probably Betty Davis, she says, 'Old age is not for sissies,'" said Holzman, sitting on a wooden chair in the shadow of a large umbrella spread in Bryant Park.

"I consider myself lucky and fortunate that I'm still able to dance and jump around and take my shopping cart and do everything else."

Across the United States, COVID-19 vaccinations have changed seniors' daily lives in ways large and small a year after the pandemic drove many in the high-risk group into forced isolation.

Older Americans are again visiting family members, eating at their favorite restaurants, and shopping in stores without fear of death or hospitalization.

"I have no doubt ... that I'll be able to do whatever I did before," Holzman said. "And I'll do it with a sense of gratitude that, you know, I was able to get through it."

(Reporting by Aleksandra Michalska; editing by Diane Craft and Rosalba O'Brien)