Is this not the best

Is this not the best thing you ever heard of? 72 years...

Coney ride has lasted 72 years

By RALPH R. ORTEGA

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER



Alice and Joe Vandernoot, honored at St. Patrick's yesterday.



Joe Vandernoot stole the heart of his Alice with an outstretched hand nearly 80 years ago - and they have been together ever since.

The couple, who celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary Friday, met as Joe helped Alice off a ride at Coney Island when her boyfriend looked away for a moment.

"I grabbed her hand to help her, and I never let go," said Vandernoot.

The silver-haired great-grandparents from Larchmont were honored at St. Patrick's Cathedral yesterday as one of New York's longest-married couples.

Edward Cardinal Egan greeted Joe, 95, and Alice, 94, in the middle of Mass, and hundreds of parishioners applauded.

The Vandernoots grew up together in Westchester Square in the Bronx and started dating after Joe showed his chivalrous side at Coney Island.

They married a few years later and had seven children, 22 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

For years, the retired Wall Street bond trader has treated her to the same plastic rose on Valentine's Day - and plans to stick to the same routine next week.

The couple says faith is the glue that has kept their marriage strong.

"I call her Darling," Joe said.

"I call him Joe," Alice responded.