Exceeding Expectations

Exceeding Expectations is our award-winning digital narrative project led by Dorian Block, a journalist, and conceived by Ruth Finkelstein, an anthropologist and health policy expert. Funded by the New York Community Trust, the project united a team of reporters and photographers who followed 20 New Yorkers over the age of 81 as they navigate their 80s in this city. The project team searched far and wide for 20 New Yorkers from all different circumstances and backgrounds who have both exceeded life expectancy and who disrupt commonly-held expectations of what it means to grow old. 

Each week during the project, the Exceeding Expectations writers introduced the story of a new person to subscribers. Stories include those of a woman who cares for her one-year-old great-granchild, a man who was in prison for 30+ years and is trying to make up for lost time, an optometrist who has retired four times but keeps returning to work, an activist who keeps in shape by counting steps so that she can continue to go to Albany to make her voice heard.  Part of her story is told in the video above.

Through writing, photography and video, the project explores how people find purpose in later life and how their environment and circumstances make it easier or more challenging to do so. Their stories are filled with mystery, drama, wisdom and search for meaning. To experience these stories, visit the project's website: exceedingexpectations.nyc.  The video below describes the scope of the project.


One year. One city. 20 lives. Follow along. from Dorian Block on Vimeo.


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