Muriel F: PR Executive, Feminist, and Friend


Living in a large, rambling house in the New York City suburbs had many advantages for Muriel, including frequent trips to the city to enjoy Broadway theater and opera at the Met. But after her husband died the house was too big for solitary living and Muriel missed the feeling of connectedness she had before with friends and her husband. “I was lonely and didn’t know it,” says Muriel, whose friends were selling their homes and moving to retirement communities. One of her close friends moved to Kendal on Hudson and invited Muriel to visit and attend some events on Kendal on Hudson’s active social and recreational calendar. She found the residents to be friendly and engaging, and she was drawn to many activities offered at the continuing care retirement community.

So, at 83, Muriel made the move and has enjoyed Kendal on Hudson’s “fluid, active and connected community” ever since. She still travels into New York City for lunch with friends and theater and opera three times a week. “There are no cliques here,” says Muriel. “You can approach anyone and say, ‘Let’s have dinner tonight,’ and they will be happy to join you. “I love the close proximity to New York City, where I can take a train from Tarrytown to the city in less than 40 minutes. I love the Hudson River views too, and watching sunsets and lying out to get a suntan on my balcony.”

Muriel had a vibrant and successful career as a senior public relations executive at a time when women had much less prominence in the field: “When I interviewed for my first job in 1950 the company told me they didn’t hire women for PR positions,” Muriel chuckles. She went on to become a leader in her field and, among other things, helped introduce Sesame Street to the public for the first time. Muriel also became a prominent leader in the feminist movement, co-founding the National Organization for Women (NOW) and becoming a close friend of Gloria Steinem, with whom she still corresponds today.

Muriel says the Quaker values at Kendal on Hudson align with her own: “Caring, respect for others and helping others—those are Quaker values and those are my own too, even though I’m Jewish—as are more than 30% of the residents here.” Muriel keeps busy and happy and often looks forward to dressing up to attend one of Kendal on Hudson’s frequent dinner parties. Every year she produces a New Year’s Eve show for the community, which includes a host of talented resident singers and actors who perform songs and skits together. She does something similar on the Fourth of July, where residents sing songs and participate in a reading of the Bill of Rights before enjoying the fireworks and other festivities together alongside the Hudson River.