When Elliot and Harriet Reiken wed, World War II was coming to a close, the Catskills was a popular summer resort town, and the subway cost a nickel.
That was, of course, over 60 years ago. And this Valentine’s Day, the two Canarsie sweethearts will join other couples who have enjoyed over 50 years of wedded bliss during a celebration hosted by Borough President Markowitz and his wife, Jamie, at El Caribe Country Club in Mill Basin. During the afternoon ceremony, honorees can reaffirm their vows, sip champagne, and dance to love ballads from their youth.
The key to staying together all these years, said Harriet, is, ironically, learning how to stay apart.
“We keep our individuality, our separate likes and dislikes, but we respect each other,” said Harriet, 81, who married Elliot, 87, in Nov. 1948, two years after meeting one summer at a Catskills resort. “We blend together, but we don’t become one.”
The active seniors do enjoy doing plenty of things together, including bowling, performing for residents at their nearby Four Seasons Nursing Home (she sings, Elliot plays guitar), going to casinos, and dancing.
“He’s a poor dancer, but a good kisser,” said Harriet.
Other couples attending the Borough President’s ceremony have been married even longer than Harriet and Elliot. Bessie and Jessie Collins of Bedford-Stuyvesant have been married for 72 years; Maddalena and Fortunato Corso of Bay Ridge have been married for 70 years; and Midwood’s Joe and Georgia Mark have been married 66 years. That’s a whole lot of Valentine’s Days!
Brooklyn Sweethearts champagne reception at El Caribe Country Club [5945 Strickland Ave. at 56th Drive in Mill Basin, (718) 444-0822], Feb. 14 from 1-3 pm. Free. Couples married more than 50 years interested in attending the event must RSVP by Feb. 7 by calling (718) 802-4488 or e-mailing email@example.com.