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Neighbors Amused By Preakness Center Pianist, 89

Nick Cestaro, 89, regularly entertains his fellow residents at the Preakness Healthcare Center with skilled and lively piano music.
Nick Cestaro, 89, regularly entertains his fellow residents at the Preakness Healthcare Center with skilled and lively piano music. Photo Credit: Preakness Healthcare Center

WAYNE, N.J. -- An 89-year old resident of Preakness Healthcare Center entertains his colleagues regularly with his piano playing.

Nick Cestaro plays old favorites by memory on a piano in the center’s rotunda. His repertoire includes favorites from the 1930’s, 1940’s and some from the 1950’s.

The playlist includes “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” and “All of Me.” Cestaro says he plays them with gusto “so my fingers don’t get stiff.”

Born on Pacific Street in Paterson, Nick lived with his mother, grandparents and an unmarried aunt after his father passed away when he was six years old. He attended School #9 and Central High School, and took accordion lessons as a child.

He started teaching piano in 1959 and continued teaching for 25 years until he was 60, and his eyesight failed.

He has lived at Preakness Healthcare Center for 15 years. Visitors and residents are charmed by Nick’s tuneful rendition of such favorites as “On the Street Where You Live”, “My Blue Heaven,” “Stormy Weather,” "When You’re Smiling” and “Stardust”.

Nick, who never married, enjoys playing and he says, “I’ve had a wonderful life.” Preakness Health Care Center, on Oldham Road, is a 405-bed skilled nursing facility run by Passaic County.

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