No one ever said growing old was going to be easy.
But for the 222,802 Manhattanites over the age of 65 — and 311,259 aged 60 and up — there are delights, discounts, services, infrastructure and vibrant options like no other place in America.
The numbers speak volumes: In Greenwich Village, 95.4 percent of residents enjoy high-speed broadband Internet access — dwarfing the 14.6 percent rate nationwide.
On the Upper East Side, 98.4 percent of residents have walkable access to parks, recreational facilities or other exercise opportunities. On the Upper West Side, 766 trains or buses stop every hour within a quarter-mile of the average block.
And in Lower Manhattan, there are 77 grocery stores and farmers markets situated within a half-mile walk.
“Walk out your front door, and the world is basically at your feet,” said 88-year-old Melanie Rosen, a retired Wall Street bookkeeper who lives on the Upper West Side and regularly visits her son in Battery Park City and two grandchildren in Tribeca.
How does she get there? Well, Rosen said, she “jumps on the 1, 2 or 3 train.” Sometimes, she “jumps” on the A or the C. She quickly amended those remarks. “Actually, I may limp, not jump, these days!” she said. “But it gets me where I'm going, and fast enough.”
Even when it comes to the negatives, Manhattan's seniors enjoy a quality of life that's tough to beat, AARP researchers found.
Obesity on the Upper East and Upper West Sides is pegged at 17 percent. Citywide, it's 26.6 percent, and the U.S. median is 28.9 percent.
Every year, there are four unhealthy air-quality days in Manhattan — but there are 5.7 such days across America.
Of course, not all the numbers are good. More 60-and-up Manhattanites live alone, 40.8 percent, than the overall city average, 28.9 percent.
And there are fewer “zero-step entries” to homes and apartments in the borough, 28.9 percent, than there are across the U.S., where 43.6 percent of units are ground-floor accessible, which fosters aging in place.
Still, it's hard to argue with the blessing of personal safety: The crime rate for every 10,000 island residents is 222. Nationally, there are 261 crimes per 10,000 people.
The data points were developed by AARP researchers who analyzed scores of factors — walkable streets, healthy food, social interaction, civic engagement, exercise opportunities, health services, pollution, access to transit — to determine the livability of neighborhoods coast to coast for people 50 years and older.
Bottom line: Manhattan is user-friendly to the aging, the old and the very old. It offers seniors an all-but unrivaled quality of life. It outpoints the other four boroughs, most of the state and most of the nation in terms of safety, diversity, access, recreation, social services, green spaces and infrastructure.
“And it is all within running, jumping or limping distance,” Rosen said.