This one’s a bromance for the ages.
When Larry David, 74, and Timothée Chalamet, 25, were spotted dining together last week, fans deemed the meet-up between the curmudgeonly “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star and the stylish “Little Women” whippersnapper “iconic.”
“How do they even know each other?” one tweeted. And speculations arose that Chalamet was perhaps pals with David’s daughter Romy, 25, who was also at the lunch, or that the actors were working on a project together.
But the May-December friendship isn’t so unusual in NYC; non-celebs also tout the benefits of building friendships with people outside one’s comfort zone.
“It’s such a healthy thing. Our society talks a lot about diversity these days — and that can include age,” said Manhattan psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael. “Different backgrounds and experiences can enrich each other in many ways, whether it’s skill sets or knowledge or perspectives on life. There’s so much to learn and appreciate intergenerationally. You can really learn from each other.”
Comedian and rabbi Mike Fine, 40, was performing at a fundraiser about eight years ago when Bernie Berns, 93, played the same room.
“I was in awe of him,” said Fine, who lives in Flushing. “I heard of him for years, the ‘Borscht Belt King of the Catskills.’ ” The two hit it off and a deep friendship formed. They now meet at a park on Manhattan’s West Side nearly every afternoon and hang out for hours, and just went upstate for a harvest festival, where they navigated a corn maze and hit the craps table at a casino.
“These older people are the life of the party,” said Fine. “Some think the older people are, the less they have to offer. I think the opposite: They’re walking encyclopedias of knowledge.”
For Fine, Berns’ long comedy career was fodder for a lot of their discussions. “I can’t have a conversation with a young person about Jack Benny because they don’t know who he is. They can’t name any of the Marx brothers, let alone Groucho. The only Marx they know is Karl Marx,” lamented Fine, who added that despite being 53 years apart, they have the “same priorities.”
Berns, who lives in Hell’s Kitchen, agreed. “When it comes to intellectual ideas, I don’t think age matters,” said Berns. “We talk about everything — our lives, world issues. We always have something to talk about.”
Sometimes, an unexpected friendship is waiting just next door.
For Loretta Antosofsky, an 82-year-old retired guidance counselor on the Upper West Side, it took no effort to strike up a friendship about 15 years ago with her neighbor, Liz Rashes, some 40 years her junior.
“We connected immediately — to the point where Liz invited us to her birthday party right away,” said Antosofsky, who lives with her husband, Marvin. “The age difference doesn‘t matter — we’re very free with each other.”
The two have a standing date every evening to walk Antosofsky’s dog, Gila, together, and catch up. “We talk about everything,” said Rashes, who works in tech, and enjoys shopping and eating out with Antosofsky.
Though friends her own age don’t judge their relationship, Rashes admitted that Antosofsky’s buds recently questioned why the whippersnapper’s always around.
“Someone in her mah-jongg group asks why I hang out with them, [says] that I must be writing a screenplay.”
Many octogenarians do indeed have stories that deserve the spotlight.
81-year-old Holocaust survivor and motivational speaker Sami Steigmann, who spent years of his childhood in a labor camp in Ukraine and was subjected to Nazi medical experimentation, befriended Rami Matan Even-Esh, a 40-year-old, Bushwick-based rapper who goes by Kosha Dillz, at an online Jewish event in the summer of 2020.
“I started inviting him out more and more,” said Even-Esh. “It’s important to have people in your life with different life experiences than you — to hear their stories and wisdom. He’s part of my crew. A lot of people are really excited to meet someone like him.”
Even-Esh even hosted Steigmann at this month’s first-ever “Bald Fest,” during which Steigmann was hoisted on a chair with “Hava Nagila” blasting in the background as raucous onlookers cheered him on.
“I like spending time with the young people — they make me feel young. Most of the people my age are busy with grandchildren,” said Steigmann, who lives alone in Harlem. “I’m very comfortable with young people.”
Despite his remarkable life, Steigmann insists that he feels like the lucky one. “I believe I receive more than I give.”
But don’t underestimate that good old-fashioned grandfatherly advice, says Berns, who can’t help but nudge his young friend Fine not to waste time when it comes to settling down: “I keep telling him, ‘OK, pal, it’s time to get married and have some kids.’”
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