Bayside centenarians celebrate birthdays

Three residents of the Bayside Senior Center over the age of 100 are celebrating birthdays this week.
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By Mark Hallum

Three seniors over the age of 100 will celebrate their birthdays collectively Friday at Bayside Senior Center.

Program manager Pang Chu said the independent living centenarians are active members of the senior center, located at 221-15 Horace Harding Expressway, and come from a variety of backgrounds.

Jean Mastrangelo turned 103 on July 20 and has had an active life in the city. Born in Queens in her family home just prior to the outbreak of World War I, she is the sixth of eight children. Mastrangelo says she was doted upon the most because of her cheerful demeanor, something that persists to this day. She studied millinery at Manhattan Industrial High School. According to Advisory Council President, Susan Hall, Mastrangelo takes two city buses to the senior center every Friday where she practices her dance moves. She took up ballroom dancing at 67 and has not quit.

Mastrangelo dances at three different venues throughout the week, including one place in Ridgewood and another in Mineola, according to Chu. She attributes her overall health and longevity to dancing.

Pauline Kossar celebrated her 105th birthday July 21. She is a former business owner of an iconic bakery in the Lower East Side, specializing in bagels and other traditional Jewish favorites. Games keep Kossar busy and active, both at the senior center, where she enjoys bingo, and at home, where she plays rummy and canasta.

“She owned Kossar’s Bialy Bakery, which made and sold bialys and other rolls,” Hall said. “At our center, she enjoys playing bingo and being with other members. She has a good life because she does what she wanted.”

Kossar still occasionally visits the family business she once operated.

Irving Black, born in Latvia, turns 103 on Aug. 23. He came to the United States at the age of 7, and later served as a civil engineer for the Navy Department during World War II. Black has been married to his wife, Dorothy, for 76 years. On Fridays, Black drives his wife to the senior center to take her dancing.

“We are happy to have two numbers for our ages, but these three members are blessed with three numbers,” Hall said. “Looking forward to have more members join our Special Century Birthday Club.”

Bayside Senior Center is operated by the Catholic Charities Diocese, which serves Queens and Brooklyn.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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