Fondly referred to as the “Mayor of Marine Park”, Larry Plotnick has been a resident here for 42 years. He enjoys the beautiful park and inlet across the street from his co-op building and has made many friends in the neighborhood. On his daily walk to the coffee shop and Lotto store, UPS drivers, mail carriers, MTA bus drivers, local neighbors and shop owners are quick to wave hello.
Diagnosed at an early age with intellectual disabilities, Larry has had a challenging life. He lived on the Willowbrook campus for 11 years before moving in with his aunt and his cousin, who provided him with gentle supports and a caring, family environment. Ten years ago, his aunt passed away and five years ago, his cousin. He was very close with both of them and had to make adjustments. Although these events deeply sadden him, Larry was able to grieve and while he will never forget his family, he has been able to move on with his own life. He now lives independently with support from his Community Habilitation Specialist from The Center for Family Support and his Home Health Aide. These trained professionals assist him with shopping, making healthy food choices, cleaning and maintaining his apartment and daily hygiene routines. To accomplish these tasks, Larry is a frequent visitor to the local barbershop, pharmacy and grocery stores, all within walking distance.
Larry’s Hebrew name is Lazar. He is very proud of his religion and attends Shellbark Synagogue to pray. He has a deep faith and finds his strength in prayer and in his religious beliefs. He is able to recite many facts about his Hebrew background and enjoys conversing with fellow congregants after the service, over refreshments.
Also a fan of films, he and his Medicaid Service Coordinator, Natalie Paul, are frequent patrons at the local movie theater. Afterwards, Larry can be seen at the Dunkin’ Donuts with friends, engaged in conversation about the latest movie star or film to hit the Hollywood big screen. A guy with a knack for numbers, dates, current events, weather and news, Larry can also recite facts and events from long ago and recently, which makes him a sought out companion around the coffee house.
Larry’s faith was tested again when three years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, a battle that caused him to loose 75 pounds and most of his hair. This was a huge setback for him, but he remained positive and followed doctors’ orders. He has been cancer free and is back to a healthy weight.
“Larry is one of the most pleasant people I have come to know and he is a great example of how utilizing natural and paid supports has made him the person he is today. Many people strive to be as lucky and truly happy with their lives as he is,” remarked fellow Marine Park resident, Christina Cervone (Powers), an Assistant Director of Community Services at The Center for Family Support.