Dorothy Wiggins, a 98-year-old woman from Manhattan, recently visited Little Ruby’s Cafe, a new restaurant in her neighborhood. She left her townhouse and approached the hostess, expressing her fond memory of the owner’s previous dining establishment. Mrs. Wiggins shared that her husband had worked at the location, and she was interested in seeing the changes.
Michael Astor, a freelance journalist, trailed Mrs. Wiggins, discreetly capturing her outing with a pocket-size gimbal camera for @dorothylovesnewyork, a social media account he manages. These accounts have made Mrs. Wiggins an unlikely social media celebrity, attracting tens of thousands of followers. The posts chronicle Mrs. Wiggins as she navigates life in New York and the Hamptons, equipped with a wooden walking staff, vintage hats, and a dry sense of humor.
The appeal of the accounts lies in Mrs. Wiggins’s indifference to social media. She admitted, “I’m a funny one to become popular, because I scorn it all.” The accounts were initiated by her son after her husband’s passing to provide a distraction from grief.
Astor documents Mrs. Wiggins and edits footage a few times a week. He shared that interactions with her tend to be at odds, as she finds everything after the 1960s disappointing. However, he believes that TikTok is a medium that allows him to show the deeper aspects of her life, especially as an older woman.
While at the Salmagundi Club in Greenwich Village, Mrs. Wiggins was unfazed by her social media fame. She reflected, “I brush off the fame,” and expressed that she doesn’t put much significance in it. However, she was moved by a comment from a viewer who expressed that they were inspired to keep going after seeing her videos, recognizing the impact she could have.