Jimmy Prince, 81, Marine Park, Brooklyn
Prince owned Major’s, a butcher shop on Mermaid Avenue, for 60 years. Now he mentors the staff at a butcher shop in Sheepshead Bay.
7 a.m. I am always up by seven. I have my coffee and a slice of toast.
10 a.m. On Wednesdays and Fridays, my wife will generally drop me off at G&S Salumeria and Pork Store, in Sheepshead Bay.
11 a.m. I volunteer at the butcher shop. The artwork of butchering is long gone. The generation that’s growing up now needs an education—I’ll show them the best way to take a neck and shoulder apart. A lot of women today are not kitchen-oriented, so to speak, so I’ll teach the boys the cooking time for the meat and how to freezer-wrap their leftovers into two or three meals rather than putting it all in one package.
5 p.m. My wife will pick me up. At home I’ve learned to do a lot of housework. I learned how to do the laundry and how to handle cleaning. I’ll make the supper, because she made supper for me when I was at the store.
7 p.m. We try to talk to our children. You have to look at the clock and say, “What time is it there?” to know if it’s okay to call. I like to read; mostly histories and stories about baseball and stamp magazines.
9 p.m. By the time eight or nine rolls around, we’re ready to sleep. I can’t keep my eyes open.
Herbert Oppenheimer, 90, Upper West Side
The Yonkers-born architect apprenticed under Philip Johnson. He’s working on a few final projects while closing up his architecture practice.
8 a.m. I’m a big breakfast cook for myself, and had been for my wife before she passed away. I make scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, and sausages.
Noon I try to get to the office every day for a couple hours. I have a bit contract with the School Construction Authority that’s winding down. Six years ago, I also embarked upon trying to build a little house for my wife and myself on this land we bought in the Catskills. It’s 98 percent done.
3 p.m. Two days a week, I go to the Art Students League. I’m carving wood there for three to four hours. I carved wood when I came out of the Army in 1946. I’m making a little wooden sculpture of my two cats.
6 p.m. I’m on a committee affiliated with the Center for Architecture at La Guardia Place, which is specifically concerned with senior citizens.
8 p.m. I’ve been a member of the Century club for 30 years. I sing in the chorus there. We are the Century Singers, and we always perform at Christmas and other shows.
10 p.m. My wife and I used to go to the movies a lot, and to the ballet. But I haven’t gone much since she died. I intend to start rattling around again soon.
Lorrie Goulet, 88, Chelsea
Lives and works in the Chelsea townhouse she bought with her late husband, sculptor José de Creef. Her works are at D.C.’s Hirshhorn Museum.
9 a.m. I wake up, ride my stationary bicycle, take my pills, and eat my breakfast—a blueberry muffin with fruit.
Noon I get all ready and then come down to the studio. I cover what I’m working on with a sheet, so when I come in to look at it I have a fresh eye. I listen to WQXR. When I’m carving, I make a terrible mess. The chips fly.
4 p.m. I taught at MoMA’s People’s Art Center for eight years, then at the New School, and at the Arts Student League for about 25 years. I’m still teaching this one woman who lives in Southampton and works in wood; I’m trying to pass on everything I know.
6 p.m. Every day for the past few months, I have been working on a new Wikipedia entry for José. I’m also compiling a book of my sculptures.
7 p.m. I look at the mail and sit outside on my back deck and smoke. A pack a day, but I don’t smoke the cigarettes all the way. Then I make my dinner, a big salad and a soup; I like kale. Then I watch the news. I like todo crossword puzzles at night, but I can’t find them in large print. Sometimes I defrost the freezer.
8 p.m. I go to sleep between eight and nine. When you get to be older, you just have to rest better.
Lloyd Williams 75, Chelsea
The former fashion designer (“Looking back, the pieces were very Dynasty”) who lives in West Chelsea and fancies himself a “man of leisure.”
6 a.m. Every morning, I read the New York Times in its entirety (except sports).
12:30 p.m. I’ll meet a friend for lunch. Maybe it’s a sandwich at a deli along Ladies’ Mile; maybe it’s a bowl of noodles in Chinatown. It depends on what neighborhood we’re scouting that day. I’m an inveterate flâneur. I love to people-watch, especially in Soho and on Madison Ave. I often re-dress them in my mind in a better outfit.
2 p.m. I’ll go to a show at the MoMA, the Met, or a late-afternoon movie to avoid the crowds. And then it can take me hours to finally make my way home: New York becomes very small once you’ve lived here for a long time. I ran into my friend Bill Cunningham on the street the other day and he had a scrape on his forehead from falling off his bike; we shouldn’t be riding bikes at our age.
8 p.m. I can finally decline all those stagnant dinner parties I once felt obligated to attend. Now my closest friends and I go out as a small coterie. For a treat, we’ll go to La Grenouille. You know how Holly Golightly liked having breakfast at Tiffany’s because it seemed that nothing bad could happen to her there? That’s how I feel about dinner at La Grenouille.
As told to Hana Alberts and Jessica Silvester.