MAY 26, 1955
NEW YORK—On Tuesday afternoon I attended the dedication of a pioneer project—a "golden age" center—to be run jointly by the New York City Department of Parks and a social service agency called the University Settlement. Mayor Robert Wagner and Parks Commissioner Robert Moses were present as well as many other city dignitaries.
The city has built a very pleasant center in the park which, incidentally, is the Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, named after my mother-in-law. This center is for men and women over 65 and is bright, cheery and airy, with tables for games and opportunities for crafts of various kinds for which the Grand Street Boys Association will supply the materials, as they do in many other areas of the city.
The University Settlement and the Parks Department will supervise the program and I think this should be a very good cooperative scheme. One thing I liked particularly and that is having the center in the middle of the park. The older people can look out from it and watch the youngsters at whatever active games they are busy with. I think it is good for young and old to come in contact as long as the contact is not too close or too frequent.
I was very much interested to look over rather carefully yesterday a recent report made under the guidance of Deputy Mayor Henry Epstein on delinquency in New York City. It seems to me to be a very interesting report and it is called "Perspectives on Delinquency Prevention." Eight months of hard work were devoted to getting the facts and making these recommendations.
We have a great many young people in New York City and we tend to think that it is only in our great overcrowded cities that one finds juvenile delinquency. The percentage, however, is even higher in some of the smaller cities, and other big cities, such as Cleveland, Ohio, for instance, are quite as badly off as we are here percentage-wise.
This in no problem that can be handled with one's eyes only on one particular situation. One has to see all the conditions surrounding the child in the present-day world, understand all the pressures, all the temptations, all the possibilities of going the easy way before one can really understand what happens to our children.
It takes character to stand up against the rest of one's playmates and be different, and this is particularly hard when one is young and when one has had so little opportunity to know what character should be and what it means to be a mature person.
I hope a great many people in our city will ask for this report of Mr. Epstein to the Mayor and read it with care. I am sure they will find it enlightening and helpful.