By Bill Parry
A Woodside couple are the proud parents of a newborn girl with two special distinctions: The baby was the first one born in New York City in the new year and her name was selected by the Dalai Lama.
Metok Dolma, 31, a Tibetan-born small business owner and her fiancé, Choegyal Dorjee, called a secretary for the religious leader to request a name choice. The Dalai Lama complied, suggesting the name “Tenzin Choetso.”
The couple said it is good luck to have the Dalai Lama suggest a name. They did it two years ago for their first-born daughter, and he suggested Tenzin Choezey.
The Dalai Lama recommends Tenzin often because it means “to conquer the wisdom of Buddha” in Tibet. Name requests of the Dalai Lama are a tradition, according to Ngawang Yonten, a special assistant at the Office of Tibet.
“Yes, this happens all the time, people asking His Holiness for names,” he said.
But you do not need to be a Buddhist or a Tibetan national to ask the Dalai Lama for a name.
“That’s true, but I don’t have any knowledge of any non-Tibetans asking,” Yonten said.
Tenzin Choetso was born one second after midnight at Elmhurst Hospital Center. It is the second year in a row that Elmhurst has had the distinction of producing the first city baby. In 2013 a baby was born exactly at midnight at the hospital.
“We are thrilled and excited that the first baby of 2014 was born at Elmhurst,” said Chris Constantino, the center’s executive director. “Our staff is overjoyed.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.