Death is Obsolete

10 Longevity Secrets of a 103-Year-Old Bon Vivant

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HARRY ROSEN IS 103. He lives alone in a studio apartment on West 57th Street in Manhattan.

His hearing has declined and he a bit far-sighted but his mind is as sharp as most men half his age. Still, he doesn’t remember the last evening he didn’t go out for dinner at one of the city’s top-rated restaurants. It’s been too many years.

People say Harry doesn’t look a day over 90, and indeed when people ask him his age, he tells them he is 90. He’s never had a major operation and as far as he knows there is nothing wrong with him.

And yes, every single afternoon Harry dresses up in one of his fine business suits, grabs his satchel, and heads out to hail a cab to one of his favorite dining establishments.

He eats alone but the waiters always know who he is and patrons at nearby tables almost always strike up a conversation with him. Twice a week Harry goes to David Burke’s Townhouse on East 61st Street where a server greets him, escorts him to his usual corner table, brings him a glass of chardonnay and his usual appetizer of raw salmon and tuna.

Harry was recently profiled in The New York Times

The article makes for fascinating reading, the writer refers to Harry as the city’s “oldest foodie,” but there are no direct refers to any of his longevity secrets. Yet, reading through the lines, I’ve come up with a list of Harry Rosen’s 10 longevity secrets, which follows:

  1. Harry always orders fish. For a non-Eskimo he has unusually high levels of omega-3 fats in his diet. His omega-3/omega-6 ratio must be highly favorable to reducing any risk of heart disease or dementia.
  2. Harry’s daily routine never varies–this keeps his life stress free.
  3. Harry has no financial concerns, he once make a lot of money.
  4. He is very social. Harry talks to people. Everywhere he goes people know him. And he recently had a 6-month fling with a younger woman (she was 90).
  5. Harry was happily married for 70 years. He took his wife to dinner most evenings.
  6. Harry always sleeps on his back, and he sleeps very well.
  7. Harry drinks a glass of wine every day.
  8. Harry has maintained an extensive collection of photographs and documents which he views to reinforce his memories.
  9. About good food and ambience, Harry says “it’s my therapy–it gives me energy” and you know, saying is believing.
  10. Harry is wonderfully optimistic.

Someday, hopefully soon, I’ll run into Harry at Café Boulud (pictured above) and perhaps get a chance to run this list by him, to see if he agrees or perhaps he’ll have some other reasons or maybe he’ll say it’s just plain luck.

Regardless, he’s a wonderful role model for other centenarians.

–David Bunnell


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