On Jan. 31, Jeanne Lipsky, a resident of Kew Gardens Hills, celebrated a special milestone as she turned 100 years old.
In a heartwarming gesture, members of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau of Patrol Borough Queens South made the centenarian’s day even more special by throwing a surprise birthday celebration in her honor.
Det. Tanya Duhaney of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau of Patrol Borough Queens South shared that Lipsky knew Duhaney and her colleagues P.O. Flemens and Det. Jonathan Thomas would visit her to celebrate the special occasion. However, little did the centenarian know that her cop friends would bring their colleagues, decorations, balloons, a sugar-free chocolate cake and flowers to mark Lipsky’s milestone birthday in style.
Duhaney, Flemens and P.O. Lawrence decorated the hallway outside Lipsky’s apartment and Thomas brought three giant number balloons representing 100 years and a large flower bouquet.
Josh Simanowitz, district director for Assemblymember Sam Berger, presented Lipsky with a New York State Assembly Citation on behalf of the Assemblymember.
Lipsky was overjoyed when she came out of her apartment and saw what New York’s finest had put together to brighten her milestone birthday.
“I’m utterly surprised because they’ve been lovely in the last two years coming,” Lipsky told QNS. “I’m so surprised to see like the whole police force.”
The centenarain stays sharp by reading books -she has read 250 books since COVID-19 hit and is currently reading a 600-page book. She has never smoked or drank alcohol, takes vitamins daily and enjoys healthy food options. However, Lipsky was surprised that she turned 100, though she said she takes after her mother.
“I was the youngest in the family of three. I had two older sisters, and they both died kind of young. My dad died young,” Lipsky said. “My mother, I get the long age from her. She was 90.”
Lipsky drove until she was 94 and only stopped driving because her car was too old.
“The car was about 20-some-odd years old, and my son said, ‘I don’t know if it will pass inspection,'” Lipsky remembered.
Lipsky has seen many ups and downs in her long life, including the death of her 15-month-old daughter, who tragically died after a doctor prescribed her sulfur. Lipsky battled infectious mononucleosis that put her on strict bedrest for two months while her husband, who passed away over 30 years ago from kidney disease, took care of their 12-year-old son, whom they had adopted from Greece.
“Life has not been so easy,” the two-time grandmother said. But she prevailed thanks to her calm nature. “I take after my mother’s side of the family. My mother was calm. No matter what happened, she stayed calm.”
Thomas, who is with the 107th Precinct Detective Squad, told QNS that he met Jeanne Lipsky a couple of years ago when she called him after she had received numerous phone calls from scammers trying to obtain her Medicare card and personal information.
“She was sharp as a whip,” Thomas told QNS. “She told [the scammers] that she [couldn’t] find her card. She wrote down all the phone numbers that tried to take advantage of her. So she was wise enough to call my office and gave me all of those numbers.”
Lipsky and Thomas began talking regularly and eventually became friends. Thomas, Duhaney and Flemmens check in with Lipsky regularly to ensure she is all right. When they celebrated Lipsky’s 99th birthday, the cops promised they would be there to celebrate the big 100.
“[Lipsky] is just a good person, a sweet person, and I’m just honored to be able to have met her and know someone that has lived 100 years on this earth,” Thomas said. “And you can see for yourself, she’s always smiling, always in a good mood.”
For Duhaney, Lipsky’s special birthday was the highlight of the detective’s week.
Duhaney shared that they try to visit Lipsky once a month and call her at least once a week to say hi. The detective called Lipsky an inspiration, and seniors like Lipsky made her want to go the “extra yard.”
“I like to go above and beyond, and I like to make their day special once we know about their special day,” Duhaney said. “[Lipsky] must be so happy that, even though we’re all strangers, [there are] still people celebrating her and talking to her.”