Living Stronger: Centenarian a fixture in NYC neighborhood by caring about others

Living stronger
Living stronger 03:10

Living Stronger is a “CBS Evening News” series celebrating the people leading the way to longevity -- and inspiring the rest of us.  

THE BRONX, N.Y. -- If it’s Saturday night at Pasquale’s Rigoletto, it’s Joe Binder with the mic.

“That is what keeps me going, when I make people laugh,” Joe said.

He’s been entertaining people most of his time on this Earth, but on this day, it’s everyone else’s turn to sing. Joe just turned 107.

Joe Binder blows out the candles on his birthday cake CBS News

“Did you ever think you would reach 107?” asked CBS News correspondent Don Dahler.

“I never thought about it. I never gave it any thought really, I just kept riding along,” he said.

Joe Binder CBS News

The Navy veteran was born and raised in Brooklyn, but moved to the Bronx in 1946.

He’s been a fixture on Arthur Avenue for as long as anyone can remember, doing various jobs. He finally retired from managing the parking lot at Mario’s Restaurant at 102.

“A lot of people would want to relax when they reach that age,” Dahler said.

“I love people and people love me,” Joe replied. “So I hope I can make another six months.”

So do his many friends, like Gene Dinapoli.

Gene Dinapoli CBS News

“He is a sweet man, he’s talented and is loved by so many that when I am next to him, I feel that love bounce off of him and just fill the room,” he said.

Joe has been the one constant here over the years, as the neighborhood changed around him. He favors the 1920s.

“On Sunday I took a date to Coney Island. It was five cents each on the train. We got to Nathan’s, it was two frankfurters and a root beer was 15 cents each. Then we went through the tunnel of love,  you sneak a little kiss you. Back on the train, another 10 cents, and I still had 20 cents left, so those were great days for me.,” he recalled.

To this day he refuses to stay still, exercising almost daily.

He also dances with his girlfriend Annette, who’s half his age. And he plays his instruments.

Joe Binder serenades the crowd at Pasquale’s Rigoletto CBS News

But Joe Binder’s advice for living stronger? Care about others.

“I would tell them to be kind to people. Don’t carry any grudges. And when you get hurt, turn the other cheek,” he said.