Harry Rosen hasn’t eaten dinner at home in years. At 103, it’s very likely he’s New York’s oldest foodie.
In a profile by The New York Times‘ Corey Kilgannon, Rosen said his nightly dinners at the city’s top restaurants are a way for him to rejuvenate and recharge.
“The food and the ambience, it’s my therapy — it gives me energy,” Rosen said.
Rosen grew up in Russia before coming through Ellis Island and settling on the Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century. Since then, he has watched as New York’s streets have filled up with top-notch restaurants. He has his favourite places — Cafe Boulud on East 76th Street and David Burke Townhouse on East 61st, among others — but has been on the lookout for a regular dining companion since his wife, Lillian, passed away five years ago.
“I’m still open to meeting someone,” he said. “I still have the desire. That’s what counts.”
Rosen made his living as the owner of an office supply company whose clients included Walt Disney, ABC, and the Hearst Corporation. He says the memories of those business deals are as comforting and savory as the fine meals he enjoys today.
Still, his choice to eat solo always draws questions.
“Maybe because I’m eating alone at my age, people at other tables start conversations,” he said. “They always ask my age, and I often lie and tell them I’m 90. If I tell them my real age, it becomes the whole subject of conversation and makes it look like I’m looking for attention, which I’m not.”
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