Maspeth baby boy is city’s first birth in new year

Couple Marta and Jacek Kozlowski of Maspeth hold their New Year's baby, Kacper after he was delivered moments after midnight on Jan. 1 at a hospital in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of the Kozlowski family
By Joe Anuta

Kacper Nieczyslaw Kozlowski will never have a dull birthday party for the rest of his life.

The Maspeth baby boy was born exactly 57 seconds after the ball dropped on New Year’s Eve at Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan, mere miles from a sea of screaming revelers in Times Square.

“I never thought that I would spend my new year’s eve in the hospital,” his mother, Marta, 29, said. “It’s a bit overwhelming and surreal.”

Kacper is the first child of Kozlowski and her husband, Jacek. But they were focused more on the infant’s health and birth weight — a respectable 7 pounds 14 ounces — and less about the fact that he might be New York’s first baby of 2011.

Across the river, Selina Wong, the first child of Ting Li and Richard Wong of Fresh Meadows, was the first baby born in Queens in 2011, just one minute after midnight, weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces.

Back in Manhattan, Kozlowski was not trying to beat out the competition.

“It is exciting and unexpected, but I’m definitely very happy that the baby is healthy and we’re all doing OK,” she said.

Kozlowski said the timing was unexpected — she was due Dec. 30 — and it didn’t cross her mind that she could have a New Year’s baby until the night of Dec. 31.

“The doctors and the nurses were all kind of laughing and said, ‘Imagine if it happened and you had the New Year’s baby,’” she said.

But a short time later, that became a reality for both Kozlowiski and Dr. Donald Matheson, the man who delivered the baby.

Matheson denied that his staff tampered with the pregnancy to ensure a midnight birth.

“It really didn’t hit me until 9 p.m. and I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is a possibility,’” he said. “Not that I was aiming for it. It was normal labor — we didn’t hurry her up.”

In fact, Matheson said that as the seconds ticked down, 2011 was the last thing on his mind. No televisions were tuned to the ball drop.

“That would have been distracting. I was making sure the baby’s heart was OK,” he said, but added that afterward, other doctors came into the room to tell Kozlowski that her son might have been the first of the year.

“I think the patient was very excited,” he said.

Remarkably, this was not the first time Matheson had delivered a New Year’s baby.

“I’ve had a couple of close ones,” he said.

But about 15 years ago, Matheson said he delivered a child right as the clock struck 12 a.m. at St. Vincent’s Hospital, also in Manhattan. That New Year’s baby got so much hype that it made it onto a talk show hosted by Regis Philbin, according to Matheson.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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