An 84-year-old great-grandfather works as a contractor, flipping a home in Middletown mostly by himself.
Although he retired from working in the Big Apple, John Quidone said he never officially retired from working, and he doesn't plan to anytime soon.
Quidone was a general labor foreman working on several big projects in Manhattan before retiring in the 1990s. Today, he uses his experience to purchase, repair and resell a residence in the same way he would want it done if it were his home.
“I do houses more as pride, and it keeps me young,” Quidone said, standing in the remodeled kitchen of 53 Mulberry St. “Few people can do what I do at the age of 84.”
Quidone purchased the 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom home that was built in the 1900s for $37,000 in July 2018. He said he has put about $100,000 worth of renovations into the home, not including labor since he works solo, aside from some plumbing and electric work. He hopes to sell the house for about $200,000 this spring.
When Quidone purchased the house, it was in need of a serious renovation. Cabinets were dangling from walls in the kitchen, the porch was in disrepair and the foundation was starting to crumble, he said.
By hand, he reinforced the foundation, rebuilt the front porch and installed new cabinetry in the kitchen, along with baseboard heating, new hardwood flooring and walk-in closets in most of the bedrooms.
Quidone rebuilt a wall at the entry to create a more majestic first impression, installing a handsome staircase and a sparkling chandelier.
“I build something I want to buy,” he said.
Over the years, the number of working people in New York above retirement age has increased significantly to almost 600,000 in the first quarter of 2019. Back in 2001, for the same time frame, some 264,000 New Yorkers above retirement age were in the workforce, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In the same vein, the numbers of working folks in the 55 to 64 age group nearly doubled from 2001 to 2019, with about 906,000 working in the first quarter in 2001, versus 1.64 million working in 2019.
Specifically for Orange County, there were about 33,700 people over the age of 55 employed in 2017, while in 2002 there were about 17,000 working, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Center for Economic Studies' work area profile analysis.
In Sullivan County, about 7,000 people over 55 were working in 2017 versus 4,500 in 2002. About 16,000 Ulster County residents 55 and over worked in 2017, compared to 10,500 in 2002.
Saving more for retirement, keeping busy to avoid boredom, receiving a paycheck and enjoying the work they do or not wanting to leave it behind are some reasons to which AARP attributes the rise in the senior workforce.
For Quidone, a Brooklyn native who moved north in the 1960s, it's easy. The Marine veteran loves spending time with his retired wife, Cathy, who is 60, and their three dogs. He built the couple's three-bedroom ranch in Wawayanda.
Originally, he had bought the Middletown home with the intention of moving into it.
“It's a safe location,” Quidone said. “I happen to like Middletown. It's a city that's coming back.”
But he wanted more room for his dogs to run around, and he has almost 27 acres now.
He has his two daughters living Florida, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
So when he's not busy with other things, Quidone works on the home part-time - when he feels motivated.
“I work when I want to work,” he said.
The only reason he's able to do what he does is because of his experience, he said.
“I can go to Manhattan and point at all the jobs I've done,” Quidone said.
The last home he flipped was in Connecticut. And when he's done with this one, Quidone said he's on to the next.