A portrait of a lasting friendship on Long Island

Rosie Zona and Mary Ann Romano have been friends since their college days.

"48 years—we met at FIT. We were majoring in advertising and communications," Romano said. "She was on the verge of getting a divorce and I wanted to get into advertising."

Rosie offered Mary Ann her home as a place to live while she was getting her degree.

The two, 30 years apart in age, never parted ways. Mary Ann, now 77, is paying it forward by taking care of Rosie, now 107.

"We went to the doctor and he said both of you have very good hearts," Zona said. 

When Rosie was no longer able to drive, they started using the taxi company, Oyster Rides, to get around.

Over the past two years, Alan Mancini, who goes by the nickname "Boom Boom," has proven to Rosie you're never too old to make new friends.

"I'm going to say we're the three musketeers," he said. "I've taken her to get her hair done, I've taken her to the senior citizen center, we've had several doctor's appointments both here on the island and in Manhattan. You know, in and around."

The trio is known to laugh as they pal around town.

"The music is in the background, Mary Ann's telling stories, Rosie's complaining she wants to eat," said Mancini.

Rosie has quite the appetite and hardly acts her age.

She sings, plays piano and is learning Latin. She and Mary Ann also travel three times a year.

"You have to live right and you have to love somebody," Zona said.

Love is the secret to longevity, according to Rosie. She has five children, 10 grandchildren, a best friend and Boom Boom.


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