“Stop! In the name of health, Don’t cut my Medicare, Think it o-o-ver.” Bryant Park’s lunch crowd got quite a show today as a troupe of grannies and their supporters adapted The Supremes to draw attention (and a crowd of about 100) to stopping government cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It was a record-setting day for weird looks and smirks among suited-up onlookers.
One of the day’s dancing stars, Doris Griss, 91 and a half (“Don’t forget the half,” she noted), came to the event with her granddaughter. “I said to her, ‘Grandma, do you want me to hold your sign so you can dance?’ And she said, ‘No, I want you to hold my cane,'” Zahava Griss says.
Doris shared the secret to her longevity and spunk: “I don’t take any prescription drugs; I take alcohol,” she says. “No side effects if you don’t take too much.”
The day’s message is dear to Doris, who has survived cancer twice and notes that “[Medicare] is why I’m still here. I’m 91 and a half, so I know how important it is.” Another cancer survivor, Jenny Heinz, who was diagnosed with breast cancer one month after she turned 65 and has undergone a mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy says, “I often wonder what it would have been like if I didn’t have Medicare. It would have been a nightmare.”
No one’s ailments were evident as the group of grannies and their supporters danced at the 41st Street entrance to Bryant Park and then in front of the Public Library. “It’s free front row seating!” said Kristen DeAngelis, who was caught by surprise as the group descended around her as she sat on the library steps.
Lillian Lifflander, a 90-year-old World War II vet who has lived in the Lower East Side for almost her entire life, came to the event to support others since she has veteran benefits. “A lot of my
friends are gone already, but my young friends are here,” she says. While she can’t dance because her “back won’t take it,” she sang along. “Anything that will catch anyone’s attention is an effective method of protest,” she says. Well, this group of grannies shaking their hips to the Supremes is certainly a head-turner.
In the event you need to see it for yourself, video of the grannies in action: