David Mark Greaves
David Mark Greaves

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By Jennifer Cunningham

Photos: Nadezda Tavodova

Seniors took uptown’s center stage this week for an event that honored the neighborhood’s sages as part of HARLEM WEEK.

Hundreds of seniors braved the sweltering temperatures to attend the annual HARLEM WEEK New York City Senior Citizens Day at the Adam C. Powell Jr. State Office Building on W. 125th St.

Hospitals, universities, city agencies and other health and wellness organizations pitched up tables in the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. state office building’s plaza for a health fair, offering blood pressure screenings, smoothies, and information on everything from free classes to adults to protection from the Zika virus.

Harlem Hospital brought its mobile health care van out to offer on the spot screenings, while exercise instructors put the seniors through their paces with exercise classes on the main stage.

“I’m here because I believe good health starts in the community,” Claudia Boykins, the engagement and policy director for the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership told the Harlem News as she took seniors’ blood pressure. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to keep the village healthy.”

Inside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr state office building, seniors who have made a difference in their community were honored at the “Elder’s Jubilee” luncheon. Utilizing the theme of “Our Past, Future and Present Inspirations,” the event honorees included Robert (“Bob”) Tate, the founder and president of marketing firm Unlimited Contacts. Tate received the 2016 Joseph Roberts Community Service Award. Also honored was Charlotte Sutton, the daughter-in-law of Harlem legend Percy Sutton, and part of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

Reps from insurance company United Healthcare spoke to the seniors about their insurance options, and the city’s Department of Health handed out pamplets on wellness issues like safe pest control and preventing heat exhaustion. And over at the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center, marketing coordinator Yveline Legagneur handed out information on the free high school eqivelency classes and career training the school – part of the state University of New York – offers.

“We’re right here in the building,” Legagneur said. “We are a resource for the community, and we’re really pushing people to go back to school.”

It was an event that Harlem native Linda Pierce, 68, said she wouldn’t miss, even though she now resides in the Bronx.

“We did exercise upstairs,” Pierce said proudly as she got her blood pressure checked at the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership’s table. “I was born in Harlem, in Harlem Hospital. It’s in the blood baby. It’s in the blood.”

HARLEM WEEK, which is presented by The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and sponsored in part by the MTA and Apple Bank, celebrates all things uptown through a series of music, cultural and community events all summer.

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