Genoveva Gonzalez loves to party.
In fact, she describes herself as being born into “a party family.”
Gonzalez, known to most as “Jenny,” brought her entertainment and social prowess to New Community Hudson Senior in Jersey City when she arrived in 2010.
“I feel so happy to live here,” she gushed. Gonzalez participates in her building’s activities religiously and has become a familiar face at network-wide events held for seniors in Newark, such as the recent Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship dinner.
“Jenny is a positive person, always outgoing, and helps staff to plan all events. She is the life of the party,” Sandy Le, Property Manager at Hudson Senior, said.
Born in Lima, Peru, Gonzalez said that her family, relatives and friends instilled in her the tradition of celebrating any and every occasion. The gatherings, she recalled, were always filled with food, dancing and music—often played by live mariachi bands.
Now, she finds reasons to get together with other building residents for outings organized by Health and Social Services. She said she considers her neighbors as family.
“Neighbors are very important,” she said. “You need good people around you.”
Growing up in Lima, Gonzalez said one of her first jobs was working alongside her mother in a butcher shop. She followed the footsteps of her niece, Juana, and moved to the U.S. in her early 30s, and the two women lived together in New York.
Gonzalez said she worked as a domestic worker for a family with three children in Leonia for two years and eventually moved to Jersey City. Next, she was hired to work in a guitar-making factory based in Union. It was during her 10 years working on the factory floor that a foreman gave her the nickname “Jenny.”
As her son, Jose Luis, grew older, Gonzalez reduced her hours at work to take care of him. Although grown, she still sees him a few times a week but in between, she fills her time with shopping trips to Ocean County Mall in Toms River or bus rides to Queens to visit her niece. Gonzalez has become skilled at navigating public transit and once in a while, she said she will ride a bus just to discover what’s at the last stop. She’ll wander for a bit, then grab a cup of coffee and take the bus back home. “I like to go out,” she said.