Rockville Centre's Sandel Center seniors toast to 2019


“We’re going to have a countdown in case anybody fell asleep and missed it, like me,” said Jim Papa, an entertainer who serenaded members of the Sandel Senior Center at their New Year’s party on Jan. 4.

At 1:59 p.m. that afternoon, the more than 100 seniors began counting backwards from 10. Party-goers clinked glasses, hugged, and soon a contingent returned to the dance floor — 2 p.m. signified the first midnight of 2019.

The party is an annual tradition, and Mayor Francis X. Murray, a Sandel member, noted with a laugh that no parking tickets would be given out in the area outside the South Park Avenue facility until 3 p.m. “If you do get one, see the deputy mayor,” he joked.

He and Deputy Mayor Kathy Baxley called the Sandel Center their favorite place in the village to go. “I’m hoping that we’ll spend a lot of time here in 2019 with every one of you at all the events, and I’m hoping that 2019 is a healthy year for all of you, for all of us, the village family and all of your families,” Murray said. “Happy New Year, everybody.”

Dozens flooded onto the dance floor for classics like “This Magic Moment,” “It’s Now or Never” and “Unforgettable” during the three-hour lunch and dance party. Seniors shared some of their resolutions and goals for 2019, including Naginder Singh, who said she and everyone can focus on being more friendly to one another, whether it’s sharing a hug, a handshake or a smile. “That doesn’t cost us anything,” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to another exciting year at Sandel,” said Chris O’Leary, director of the center. “I think every year gets a little better and I’m really happy about that.”