GREENBURGH, N.Y. Last month, Ned Rose joined the Theodore D. Young Community Center's senior citizen's program for lunch at restaurant X2O on the riverfront in Yonkers. When everybody shuffled into the elevator, Rose found the staircase and jogged up two flights.
Rose was born on July 28, 1911 and has spent the last 30 years in Greenburgh. President Barack Obama sent him a birthday card for his 100th birthday in July. Rose remembers that his first car was a Ford Model T that started with a crank and that his first job was as a courier on Wall Street at age 16. He wakes up at 5 a.m. to walk and run three miles per day.
When people ask about his health or to share his secret about living a century-long life, Rose says that genetics only play a small part in the equation.
"It's how you take life when you become an adult," Rose said. "How does life affect you? Is it hard, is it easy? Believe me, life is not easy. I don't care how old you are or how well-endowed you are, life is not easy. You matriculate through life through an effort. You have to watch each step as you go ahead. You can fall behind very, very easily. Too many people become a nuisance, even to themselves."
Born in Harlem, Rose said that he is "a profound Manhattanite." He attended New York University and was married in Manhattan in 1930. His wife passed away in 1982. His son and eldest daughter, who are aged 73 and 65, respectively, live in Westchester County, while his youngest daughter, who is in her 50s, lives in California. He has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
"I never considered my age a detriment," said Rose. "It's always been an asset. Why? Because I store things."
Rose said he enjoys speaking to as many people as he can. As a member of the Friars Club, he has several tales to tell about his friends Henny Youngman, Milton Berle, Frank Sinatra and Sid Caesar. Rose said he was the one who coined Youngman's "Take my wife, please" catchphrase.
"You have to like people," Rose advised. "That's the most important. And to like people, you have to like yourself. A great many people don't like themselves, and they act that way."
During the Depression, Rose bought himself a Voigtlander camera and taught himself how to use it. To this day, the Voigtlander still works. He began photographing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs, selling many prints to newspapers in magazines. He eventually landed a job with a yearbook producer.
"Look at the nice things in life," said Rose. "Life is a wonderful gift, which none of us appreciate. Keep smiling."
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