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Residence-sharing program for seniors matches perfect pair at The Apthorp

In the image Enid Holt-Harper (right) with her roommate Ammahnda Adolphson. The two met through a residence-sharing program run by the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.

Enid Holt-Harper met her roommate Ammahnda Adolphson through the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, a nonprofit that has placed more than 2,000 guests since it started in 1981. The two share not just one of the NYC rentals, but a love of spirituality and the quirky — with those qualities and more embraced throughout Holt-Harper’s abode.

Enid Hold-Harper likes to say that each room in one of the splendid NYC rentals that belongs to her in the Apthorp building represents a different part of her personality.
The wood-paneled library, with its shelves full of hardcovers, is her “contemplative side,” and the drawing room is her “edgy and modern side,” says the flirty octogenarian who resembles Lauren Bacall.

There are 6 1/2 other rooms in her NYC rental in the landmarked upper West Side gem, and the full floor plan probably doesn’t cover the whole of Holt-Harper’s range of qualities, quirks and traits.

Now the problem with having a personality to rival one of the NYC rentals is finding a roommate with whom one can co-exist, particularly at Holt-Harper’s age.

The former furniture designer had a few bad experiences while trying to share one of her NYC rentals, but then was introduced to Ammahnda Adolphson through a residence-sharing program for seniors run by the nonprofit New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.
The program links hosts with guests — one of the two must be at least age 60 or older — and allows the guest to pay less than half of the price for NYC rentals and a slice of the utilities.

Adolphson is three decades and then some younger than Holt-Harper — neither will reveal her age — yet after the first minute of their first chat on the phone, they knew it would be a good fit to live together in one of the NYC rentals.

“I made her laugh,” said Adolphson, a children’s fashion designer.

Holt-Harper laughed some more when recalling the woman with whom she shared one of the NYC rentals before a friend put her onto the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens, which has placed more than 2,000 guests since the program started in 1981.
“The last person to live in this NYC rental went back to England and committed murder — she killed an old boyfriend!” said Holt-Harper, who is called the “Queen of the Apthorp” by the building’s admiring doormen and staff.

“With Ammahnda, I could just tell it would work. She calls me ‘Dearest Enid.’ We have a real friendship that I did not know could happen late in life.”

Both are Aquarians. And it helped, of course, that the two, besides sharing one of the NYC rentals also share a love for spirituality, for the quirky and the kitschy and for old-fashioned hats — lots of them

‘With Ammahnda, I could just tell that being roommates in one of the NYC rentals would work for us,’ said Holt-Harper (right). ‘She calls me ‘Dearest Enid.’ We have a real friendship that I did not know could happen late in life.’
One of the NYC rentals that belong to Holt-Harper, which she first rented 46 years ago, is filled with antiques and art.
“Everything in here has a story,” said Adolphson, who recently returned from spiritual journeys to India and the western U.S. “This is a gift. It’s like my journey keeps going. The room or money has nothing to do with it. Enid is what makes this special.”

Holt-Harper, who was born in England, survived contracting polio during an outbreak in Manchester during the 1940s. She spent six months getting treatment in an iron lung, and was helped by the gallant men of Manchester United, the city’s famous soccer team.
“They would come visit me and make me laugh and smile,” Holt-Harper recalled.
She scored one of the NYC rentals in the Apthorp — built by the Astor family in 1908 — after meeting the previous tenant at a party. The price for one of the NYC rentals that belongs to her is a far cry from what units in the building now go for — a three-bedroom condo in the highly desirable residence runs around $6 million.
But Holt-Harper looked to the foundation for help defraying her expenses. She has high medical bills because she suffers from post-polio syndrome, an ailment she said she didn’t know existed until she was diagnosed with it 20 years ago.
Linda Hoffman, the foundation’s president, said Holt-Harper’s example shows the importance of the program, which is growing in need. More than 12% of the city’s population is elderly, and need someone to share their NYC rentals.
“This can be a huge financial benefit for both host and guest,” Hoffman said. “But it can be about companionship and helping each other as well.”
For further information or to apply, call: 212-962-7559 and ask for the Home Sharing Program, or visit: