The Memory Arts Café is a series of free cultural events for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, their caregivers, family members, friends, and the general public.

The Café is co-produced by New York Memory Center and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Each program features local professional guest artists including musicians, magicians, poets and dancers.

Every Café is free and open to the public. Please join us next time. You’ll be glad you did!

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Saturday, August 27, 2016

We headed to the Shakespeare Garden with tour leader and poet Gary Glazner. It was a perfect day. We stood in the shade under a tall oak tree, recited lines from Shakespeare, and looked at all the plants in the garden that made appearances in his plays too. Megan did a great job playing the role of Juliet but she could not find Romeo

We created our own poem, and you can hear part of in this video online by Carl Bialik. 

Carl took photos that are on his Flikr page. Thanks Carl!

More photos are posted on our Google Photos page.

It was another Memory Arts Cafe full of fun and laughter. Please join us for the next one. Watch this space for time and place.

And you can see more videos from our visit to the garden by clicking these links:

The Big Oak Tree from The Tempest

“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer

A fun Mother’s Day celebration with pianist and Sing for Hope artist Jae Kyo Han

On Wednesday, May 11, Jae Kyo Han performed for an enchanted audience at our Mother’s Day Memory Arts Cafe. Jae is an active pianist, chamber musician and teacher in New York City.  He began his piano studies at the age of 4. Early on he began to compete, receiving top prizes in several competitions such as NEPTA, MMTA and was also a finalist in the 14th Chiang Wen-Yeh International Young Artist Piano Competition. During his undergraduate studies at Brandeis University, Jae won the school’s concerto competition and graduated Magna Cum Laude with Highest Honors in Music.  He moved to New York City in 2010 to pursue further musical studies. He received his Master’s for piano performance at Mannes College for Music in 2013, studying under Inessa Zaretsky.  Since completing his degree, Jae now teaches piano in Brooklyn and continues to perform in New York City.

Photo by Mei Yu. See more of Mei’s photos on our Picassa page.

The 2016 Valentine’s Dance Party

on February 17th was hosted by poet Gary Glazner and featured the teaching artists of the New York Memory Center, including Ismail Butera on accordian, Tara Abyssinia Klang leading yoga and movement, David Azarach drumming, and the Improv team from Elders Share the Arts. As usual, the food was excellent, and the everyone had a great time.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it an entertaining evening. You can see some more photos on our Picassa Page.

Previous Cafe Programs:

Field Trip at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Saturday, May 16, 2015

Just part of the group is pictured here on a beautiful day in May. Poet Gary Glazner led the tour with songs and poems to celebrate spring at the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. See more photos on our Picassa page.

The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is one of the oldest and most visited Japanese-inspired gardens outside Japan. It is a blend of ancient style with the more recent stroll-garden style, in which various landscape features are gradually revealed along winding paths. Artificial hills are contoured around a pond, a waterfall, and an island. Among the major elements are wooden bridges, stone lanterns, carefully placed rocks, a viewing pavilion, the torii or gateway, and a Shinto shrine.

Our Valentine’s Day Dance Party on February 11 featured another amazing performance by 

Kazu Kumagai, Tap Dancer Extraordinaire!

Host Gary Glazner, founder of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, interviewed Kazu about his background and current activities. Kazu told us that he decided to be a tap dancer when he was a boy and saw the film “Tap” with Gregory Hines. He answered questions from the audience too. He told us he brings his own tap board because some places are worried about their floors, that he has four pairs of tap shoes (they wear out pretty fast), and that he runs to keep in shape and practices tap every day.

You can see two videos with him performing at the New York Memory Center on our YouTube channel, Valentine’s Day (30 sec) and Dec. 2013 (2 min.).

Kazu Kumagai was born in Sendai City, Japan. He started tap dancing at the age of 15 and came to NY at the age of 19. He trained in FUNK UNIVERSITY, the training workshop for the big hit Broadway musical Bring in da’ Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. He studied with Ted Levy, Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Barbara Duffy, and Derick K. Grant. Since then, he has performed in many New York City downtown clubs, such as The Knitting Factory, Tonic, and the Puppet Jazz Club.

Holiday Party 2014

Our December Memory Arts Cafe and annual Holiday Party included great food and great entertainment, featuring Jesse Neuman on trumpet, and joined by Barry Dobrin on guitar and artists-in-residence of the New York Memory Center: David Azarch (percussion), Tara Kacak (multimedia artist), and Stine Moen (dancer with Rhythm Break Cares).

See more photos on our Picassa page.

Sing for Hope and pianist Alice Tsui….

…performed for the Cafe on Wednesday, October 15. Sing for Hope transforms lives throughout New York City by bringing the power of the arts to those who need it most. Their dynamic arts outreach programming, provided through the volunteer service of dedicated artists, includes everything from collaborative concerts for hospital patients to after-school classes for under-served youth to New York’s most beloved public art project, The Sing for Hope Pianos.

Alice Tsui started playing piano when she was four years old. She gave her first performance when she was seven years old, and she has competed in various competitions including the Young Artists Competition in Queens College, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music Competition, the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Piano Concerto Competition, the NYU Steinhardt Piano Concerto Competition and the Kosciuszko Piano Competition. She is in her fourth year at NYU Steinhardt pursuing piano performance and music education. Alice has also been on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp as a teacher and an accompanist; she currently teaches private piano lessons at 88 Keys of New York and to students throughout the city.

Scott Steelman, “Songs of Your Life”

Our September 24 program with Scott Steelman, on tour from Columbus, Ohio, was wonderful. We apologize for the conflict with Rosh Hashanah and are committed to having Scott come for a return engagement, because we had such a great

time! Scott has spent his life as an artist, teacher, writer, producer, musician and composer. After performing many years for elders, he has developed a multifaceted program called “InnerActive Arts,” and we experienced just that! Scott played jazz piano, told us about how he learned music from his family, challenged us with memory games, led us in song, and improvised with Manuela on the drum. It was a great evening, so watch our announcements for his next visit. Click here for photos from the evening.

Celebration of Creativity
June 28, 2014
Brooklyn Public Library

Photos are posted on our Picassa page.

Please join us in the fall for more great Memory Arts Cafe programs!


2014 Valentine’s Dance with music of accordionist Ismail Butera and singer Deborah Karpel
Hosted by poet Gary Glazner

Accordionist Ismail Butera, a founding member of Metropolitan Klezmer, and Deborah Karpel, pop singing classically trained opera diva, gave us great entertainment and music to dance to!


See photos from our October Memory Arts Café at the Brooklyn Public Library

We met in the Trustees Room with a beautiful view of Grand Army Plaza. Gary Glazner read poetry by William Blake (rhymes cake and snake and bake and…) and himself. We looked at beautiful oversized art books, including familiar works by Michelangelo and Norman Rockwell.

And we wrote our own poem:  “When I hear book” — here are some lines from our poem:


When I hear book
I think reading, Escaping what you’re living
I’m an avid reader, I can read a book a night

When I hear book
I think quiet
I worked in the library
I knew all about the Dewey Decibel system

When I hear book
Quite a few things come to mind
For instance, Michealangelo
I can look at his book and suddenly I’m in Rome

When I hear book
I think education
I think of the magic
Inside the covers….

Memory Arts Café at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Saturday, June 29th, 2013

See photos from our garden walk and other Cafe programs on our Picassa photo page.

Poet Gary Glazner led a tour of the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden when the roses were blooming in the Cranford Rose Garden.

Growing from its humble beginnings as an ash dump in the late 1800s, Brooklyn Botanic Garden has come to represent today the very best in urban gardening and horticultural display. The Cranford Rose Garden has been one of BBG’s most popular attractions since it first opened in 1928. In June, when the roses are in full bloom, tens of thousands of blossoms cascade down arches, climb up lattices, clamber over the pavilion, and pose in formal beds. Here, in one of the largest collections in North America, over a thousand kinds of roses are cultivated.

Thanks to the Brooklyn Museum, performers, and everyone who attended our
First Anniversary Celebration of the Memory Arts Café on Saturday, May 25, 2013 

Pictured here left to right are museum host Adelia Gregory, jazz trumpeter Jesse Neuman, poet and master-of-ceremonies Gary Glazner, and Stine Moen and Hooba from the Rhythm Break Cares Dance Company.

A highlight of the whole event was the touchable art. The entertainment was followed by a reception with great food.

Photos by Carole Debee.