Guess What 150 Rockland Residents Saw & Heard?

Don’t let their name fool you.

“We’re not about senior topics,” Rockland Community College Senior Citizens Club advisor Doreen Zarcone emphasized. “This is an educational and cultural organization, and the speakers and activities always have that focus.”

The group isn’t shy about asking questions!/NNYB Outreach

The group isn’t shy about asking questions!/NNYB Outreach

And how! Professional photographer Oscar White, a County Executive debate, and trips — to the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Broadway shows, opera, and ballet — engage its 1,000-plus members.

“One speaker who had visited five countries recently talked about anthropology and the various cultures,” Zarcone, also head of RCC’s enrollment management program, explained. “One of the club members reports on law issues each month to keep us informed about government.”


With between eight to 15 new members joining monthly, speaker and book club schedules are planned well in advance. One such program was the New NY Bridge Outreach Team, which drew 150 of the group’s 650 countywide members last month.

“They were impressed with the presentation, even the slides,” Zarcone said of special project advisor Brian Conybeare. More impressive, she said, was that it was summer, and the room was full.

“Brian presented it (project) well, and is an excellent speaker,” club president Barbara Fiedler said. “We asked how high the tolls will be, and if there will be a discount for Westchester and Rockland residents. What happens if someone doesn’t have an E-ZPass®, if they make it electronic, how will people from out of state pay? Will they get a bill in the mail?”

Most everyone wanted to know about tolls/NNYB Outreach

Most everyone wanted to know about tolls/NNYB Outreach

“If he didn’t have the answer, he told us,” past president Walter Fiedler said. “A lot of the specifics haven’t been resolved, and he said that. He was well-prepared and honest, and left us with a good impression.”

“The New NY Bridge is a historic infrastructure project that interests people of all ages. Our outreach efforts include presentations to senior citizens all the way down to elementary school students. The goal is to educate and inform everyone about the extraordinary efforts being undertaken to build this new bridge that will last for generations to come.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

While similar questions were grouped together to save time and avoid repetition, “he did take questions from the floor,” Walter Fiedler said.

Reading about the new bridge's belvederes/NNYB Outreach

Reading about the new bridge’s belvederes/NNYB Outreach

Most impressive was the video and how the bridge is being built in-river, and how traffic won’t be interrupted. Questions ranged from tolls to buses along Route 59, to work crews parking on side streets to sound monitors.

“Club members are interested in learning and have educated speakers,” Zarcone said. See online brochure. “And our members don’t ask easy questions.” What’s more, for the past 18 years, the club produced Voices, its literary magazine containing seniors’ memoirs, poems and stories.

The club also donates to the RCC students’ food pantry and is self-supporting via $10 annual membership dues.


Meetings are held the second and fourth Friday of each month at 12 noon in the RCC Technology Center, Ellipse (Room 8180). Rockland County residents age 60 and over are welcome. New members can register at 11 a.m. in the Ellipse Lobby. Proof of residency is required. For information, call 845-574-4000 or email

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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