Older New Yorkers find love in time for Valentine’s Day


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Joe Santomero and Barbara LeVien were set up by Long Island matchmaker Maureen Nelson.

Older New Yorkers find love in time for Valentine’s Day

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They are no longer lonely hearts.

Two Long Island seniors looking for love this Valentine’s Day venture out Saturday, starting what they hope will be the first of many dates — and wasting no time locking lips.

Barbara Levien, 75, and Joe Santomero, 91, chatted for about two hours over stew and mashed potatoes at the Miller Ridge Hotel in Jericho, New York. Dessert had vanilla ice cream – and a quick kiss.

“We’re going to have sex tonight,” Santomero joked.

Levien said the date was “very pleasant” and called Santomero “sweetheart.”

“This is the first time I’ve done something like this, and I have to say it was a great experience,” she said.

A second date for Valentine’s Day on Monday is already in the works.

Santomero, a Marine and Korean War veteran, former real estate agent and tennis pro, was straight to the point, telling The Washington Post before the date that he was looking for “sex” — and “being able to hold hands” peopleโ€, on a short trip to Atlantic City.

“At my age, there’s nothing more to ask for,” he said with a laugh.

Joe Santomero and Barbara LeVien were set up by Long Island matchmaker Maureen Nelson.Joe Santomero and Barbara LeVien were set up by Long Island matchmaker Maureen Tara Nelson. Stephen Yang for The New York Post

Santomero has been single for “30 or 40 years” after his 22-year marriage ended in divorce in 1978.

He’s still sharp and still a master of bridge bronze life. He also teaches the sport at the local senior center, and one of his students is 105-year-old Eugene Goodman, the brother of the king of swing jazz musician Benny Goodman.

“I feel great. No pain or anything. I’m active. I can walk without any assistance. When I go out, I bring a cane to be safe,” Santomero said. If the right woman appears, he is willing to marry again.

“At my age, there’s nothing more to ask for.”

Joe Santomero

LeVien was married for 40 years to Douglas A. LeVien Jr., the famous mob-fighting NYPD detective who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2015. She said she was ready to be in love again.

“I wanted to meet someone who was quite successful, who was a family man, who was respected and educated,” she said.

LeVien, a longtime teacher in Brooklyn, said she retired last year and was looking for someone to go to town with.

“I’m alone. If you go to Facebook, you’ll find I have a lot of friends. I’m out there all the time,” Levien said.

The pair was established by Long Island matchmaker Maureen Tara Nelson.

“I’ve been a matchmaker for over 20 years,” Nielsen boasted. “I know this is my calling,” Nelson said.

Barbara LeVien, a longtime teacher in Brooklyn, said she retired last year and was looking for someone to go to town with.Barbara LeVien, a longtime teacher in Brooklyn, said she retired last year and was looking for someone to go to town with. Stephen Yang for NY Post

Lunch is fully provided by The Milleridge Inn, which also provides transportation to LeVien and Santomero. The restaurant also provided salon treatments for LeVien and a sleek new hairstyle for Santomero.

Owner Butch Yamali said he was happy to do so.

“We thought it would be great. You see a lot of older people doing it now,” Yamali said. “I’m so happy to be able to offer it, it makes me smile, especially around Valentine’s Day.”

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