They only get better with age.
The United Senior Center in Sunset Park, 475 53rd Street, got competitive as it played host to the first-ever Platinum Edition of the BK Sings karaoke competition, launched by Borough President Eric Adams.
On Tuesday, August 14, Adams was joined by Assemblymember Felix Ortiz; Deputy Inspector Emmanuel Gonzalez, the commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct; and representatives of Aetna, AgeWell and WellCare, which sponsored the first-time event that allows residents of the borough who are over 60 to demonstrate their singing skills.
At the event, some eight contestants belted out their favorite tunes in front of their peers, hoping to grab a spot in the final round of competition at Brooklyn Borough Hall in October.
There were three judges for the competition, Sunset Park BID members Edgar Alvarez and Eduardo Artica, and Gloria Espinal of United Volunteers for the Community.
“Every time I come to United, I have so much fun,” Adams said. “The great spirit of this center is so important to the Sunset Park community. You made Brooklyn this great place to live and we are going to make sure you always have a place to live in this borough. This will be a tough job for the judges. I heard we had great singers so it will be hard to pick three winners.”
Grisel Amador, the executive director of the United Senior Center, was thrilled with the enthusiasm demonstrated at the event.
“I am very happy because my seniors are happy,” she said. “There are very good singers here at the center.”
“I truly believe music and dance is the universal communicator for all,” said CEO of Aetna Better Health of New York Kevin Nelson, calling the event “phenomenal.”
Gonzalez enjoyed taking part in the festivities as well. “There’s great talent and singing among our seniors,” he said. “The diversity is great. It’s not just Hispanic culture. Other cultures and communities were represented and came together.”
Of the contestants, Luis Cardona came in third place, David Soto took home second and the winner was Ana Mercado.
“This is like my family,” she told the group of seniors. “Thank you for loving me the way I love all of you.”
It was a tough decision for the judges, although Mercado’s victory was unanimous.
“There was a lot of great talent,” said Alvarez. “First place was a given. She stood out because she knew all the words to the song, she had a stage presence and a great voice. For second and third place, there was a lot of deliberation. That was the hardest decision.”
“When I become a senior, I want to be here,” added Artica. “It’s a lot of fun, and it’s needed in this community.”