They partied like it was 1912.
With the help of family and friends, longtime Brooklynite Goldie Sohn celebrated her 103rd birthday during a party at Shore Hill Neighborhood Center.
Since 2011, Sohn, the fifth of seven children, has made her way to the center for its Senior In Touch program, an adult day service, every week from Tuesdays to Fridays to spend time with friends, partake in activities games, go on trips and enjoy her favorite pastime, singing. She attended regardless of the weather or how she felt.
On April 10, the senior center, run by NYU Lutheran Medical Center, returned the favor by throwing her a birthday bash that included music, singing, dancing, food and of course, good company.
“The center means everything to her. It’s what she gets up for every day and keeps her going,” said Sohn’s only daughter, Marilyn Fisher. “If she didn’t have the center, she might have given up years ago. She just loves it. She gets attention like this every day.”
Members from the program helped the festive atmosphere by singing Sohn’s favorite classic tunes, such as “Ain’t She Sweet.” A DJ was also on hand to keep the celebration going.
In between songs, friend and program director for Senior In Touch Ursula Clarke told touching stories about Sohn’s life, including how she met her husband near Ocean Parkway.
“She always said he was a pick up,” Clarke joked. “She was also a beauty contest winner. Her brother-in- law entered her into a contest she wasn’t even aware of. Her family was nervous about her walking down the ramp because they thought she was clumsy and she’d trip and fall but it turned out she won first prize.”
The room was filled with decorations and old photos from Sohn’s life. She was later presented with a large cake with a picture of a Yorkie on it representing her love of her animals, a card signed by everyone in the center and a lifetime spa treatment certificate at Mimi’s Nail Spa.
“I’m very happy to be here,” said an emotional Sohn, who was born to Russian immigrants and moved to Brooklyn at the age of 14. “I love the center and I love all of you.”
“It’s a very warm feeling for all of us since we all really so enjoy Goldie in our program,” said Director of Service for Older Adults Amy Loewenberg. “She’s very special to all of us. It’s wonderful because she and everybody here have a sense of family. She’s surrounded today not only by her biological family, but we are her family as well. I think that helps people feel good and that’s what keeps people living longer.”
It was a special day for Sohn’s daughter. “What means the most to me is the fact that’s she’s been here this long. The other day she wasn’t feeling well,”said Fisher. “She’s here. That’s what I’m thankful for.”