Laura Tomana, a senior economist for the Real Estate Board of New York, is 31 and has struck up an unusual friendship during these weird times — her 77-year-old neighbor on the Upper East Side, Dennis Mcgrath, 77. As Mcgrath told The Post: “I’m a pretty self-sufficient person but living alone, especially under these circumstances, certainly does get lonely.” Tomana tells their story:
I met Dennis around Labor Day 2019 when we were both eating dinner — by ourselves — at Rathbones pub on Second Avenue. I was recently single and he is elderly, unmarried and without children. We were out of our apartments because I guess neither of us wanted to dine alone. He seemed cool and fun. We exchanged telephone numbers just in case he needed anything.
After that, we’d occasionally bump into each other on the block and chat, but that was it. Then the coronavirus lockdown started. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be for an elderly person in this city to not have generations below them to take comfort in. I figured it was the absolute least I could do to reach out to Dennis.
I called him up, and now I do errands for him like grocery shopping. We text daily to check in on each other.
Last Sunday, we spent Easter together, taking an evening walk six feet apart. I put on makeup, wore a brightly-colored skirt, and he wore a Barbour jacket and khaki pants. It felt a little like we were going to church.
Through this very unique friendship during this unique time, Dennis has felt like family. It turns out he may be helping me more than I’m helping him.
— As told to Jane Ridley
Read more stories about neighbors helping each other.