The Adult Luncheon Club (first part) - Phil Decker

This series by Phil Decker has got it all - personal engagement, interesting people and setting - not to mention some good camera work. I am glad to show you these photos from New York in the 1980's. A treasure. Thanks Phil. - Mr Urbano

 Before the crowd arrives
 Arriving on a snowy morning

The Adult Luncheon Club
by Phil Decker

In 1983, while a student at the International Center of Photography in New York City, I worked on a documentary project that explored my own roots. I had the honor of meeting and photographing some of the last original Jewish immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side, in the same neighborhood where my grandparents landed after fleeing pogroms in Romania, and where my mother and my aunts grew up.  Like most Jews on the Lower East Side, my family left for suburbs by WWII.  But many still remained in the neighborhood.

Exercise Class
Waiting for the Action to begin
Reading the Daily Paper

The Adult Luncheon Club of the United Jewish Council consisted of a dark lobby, a tight office and three small rooms packed with tables and chairs, on the ground floor of a high rise government housing project.  About fifty “regulars”, from 60 to 90 years old, met Monday through Friday in this refuge.  Every minute is scheduled with activities such as Israeli dancing, exercise class, BINGO, movies, medical check-ups, celebration of religious holidays.  But most importantly, the elders come for lunch.  It is the focal point of the day ... a good nearly free meal among “family”.

Almost Time for Lunch
Proud Elder
Good Friends
 Impeccable Couple

Photos © Phil Decker
To be continued...


Phil Decker said…
Thanks for providing me the opportunity to dust these off and get them published on-line, after so many years. I like the way you have arranged the images and text.
br said…
great faces and documentary style!!!
Rhonda Boocock said…
Very nice series! Thank you Phil!
Anonymous said…
Fabulous work, Phil. I could actually "hear" your subjects speaking. Loved it.