Riverdale Senior Services celebrates 50 years, honors community leaders


Fifty years into its history, Riverdale Senior Services for Ageless Living reflected on its ongoing success, legacy and future at a Van Cortlandt Lake House gala. 

Floyd Rumohr, RSS interim executive director, said he was grateful for the turnout at the event, as, for the last year, he has been dedicated to building up the senior center. He said the greatest two enhancements during his time with the center were the hiring of development and fundraising personnel and restructuring the organization to bring clinical services back to what they once were. 

When Rumohr took his interim role, the center had just lost its executive director along with three social workers, and his goal became getting the clinical services offerings back on track.

Among the services Riverdale Senior Services offers are counseling, support groups, a memory-loss program, social workers and health education. 

“(We’re) launching into a new era of programs and services for older adults,” Rumohr said. 

In addition to celebrating RSS itself, the gala also honored community stalwarts Bob Rubinstein and Ruth Friendly.

Rubinstein was honored for his work both with the community at large and with the Kiwanis Club of Riverdale and RSS. As one of the founding members of Riverdale Senior Services and its first president, Rubinstein remains a strong strand of the center’s DNA. He told the gala crowd taking care of seniors should remain a priority for the community.

Rumohr credited Rubinstein, who’s served on the organization’s board since 1974, with being “the father of Riverdale Senior Services.”

Rubinstein said Riverdale Senior Services founder Julie Blumenthal called him one day to tell him he had to be the president of the new center she was starting. At the time, Rubinstein was on his way to becoming president of the Riverdale Neighborhood House, but he took Blumenthal up on her offer and said he has not looked back. 

Rubinstein said Blumenthal was the soul of the center and, when she shared her idea for what she was doing, he knew how important it would be. 

“From the day we started, this is a vital force in the community,” Rubinstein said. 

The concept for the center was to create a space for seniors to engage and learn. That mission carries through today. Rubinstein said they developed the original idea into the current organization, which hosts everything from Zumba, to poetry, to mental health services. 

In addition to serving on the center’s board, Rubinstein has also worked as RSS’s lawyer for the last 50 years, his profession when he isn’t involved in community work.

These days, Rubinstein said he’s at the center a couple times a week for various activities, including his weekly bridge tournament that he plays in every Monday. 

Rubinstein also recently donated $25,000 to rename the center’s adult day program for memory loss after William A. Tieck.

Tieck was once the pastor of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church, which still stands in Marble Hill, where service is still held. In addition to his reverend title, he was a community leader serving multiple local organizations, an advocate, the Bronx Borough Historian and the president of the Riverdale Kiwanis Club before his passing in 1997.  

Friendly — widow of CBS News producer Fred Friendly, who worked closely with Edward R. Murrow — celebrated her 100th birthday several months ago. She was honored at the RSS gala for her community work as well as her role as a board member at Riverdale Senior Services for the last 19 years. She said the services the center offered throughout COVID were invaluable, providing her with a connection to others and activities that kept her busy in a time of uncertainty for everybody. Her most notable pandemic activity, she said, was the virtual art lessons she took up, continuing her journey of learning. 

“No matter how old you get, you can still learn, and I did,” Friendly said. 

The celebration came to a close with Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz presenting $175,000 in capital funding to the center.

Riverdale Senior Services, 50th anniversary, senior center gala, community leaders, Bob Rubinstein, Ruth Friendly, Floyd Rumohr, senior programs, capital funding, Van Cortlandt Lake House