Catherine Allocca donned a silver tiara bearing the words “Happy Birthday” in colorful bold letters, cutting the cake as a live DJ played Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady” upon her grand entrance of her 106th birthday party held at Bay Ridge’s St. Nicholas Home on Thursday, March 19.
“I don’t feel 106,” Allocca muttered softly, offering no secrets to her long life. “I eat everything regular.”
Allocca – the eldest of 15 children – was born in Italy on March 17, 1909 and came to America, living most of her young life in Long Island City and Staten Island, and eventually moving to Brooklyn after getting married at age 22 to Frank Allocca and raising three children – Vincent, Collette and Alberta. She has seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
She was well-regarded by friends and family for her dancing and culinary skills, often making homemade sauces and pastas and baking peach and blueberry pies, cheesecake and muffins.
“It’s always good to see longevity in the family,” said Susan Calandra, a family member.
As everyone danced to the upbeat music, enjoying each other’s company, it was apparent that good times were indeed had.
“It’s a very big honor to be here to celebrate Catherine’s birthday with her,” said Linda Orlando, a member of the Bay Ridge Community Council, who was also in attendance.
Ed Mamoud, chairperson of the board of directors at St. Nicholas Home, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the home, going 33 years strong, with approximately 70 current residents.
“We wish Catherine Allocca many more years as we do for all of our residents,” said Mamoud. “We like to think of the St. Nicholas Home — the residents here, as well as the staff — as a family, a community of family members. I’m just happy to do something for our elderly population. These are people that have served our society for many years and now in the twilight of their years, I’d like to think that I’m helping them sit back and relax and enjoy those years, so I see this as my giving back to them for all the years they’ve given to our society.”