The three centenarians — Lucille Price, 100, Sophia Smith, 101, and Grace-Marie Baker, 102 — cut into a white cake while more than 50 people gathered at the Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in the borough of Brooklyn.
After the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the crowd serenaded Baker, Smith and Price, all in wheelchairs, with “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
“We’re going to be celebrating life and the continuation of a celebration in our lives,” Claudia Titus, director of activities at the center, said of the party for the three.
Amid prayers, readings from the Bible and bouquets of flowers, the centenarians gave differing recipes for their long lives.
“It’s the soup, chicken soup,” said Smith, who was born in Guyana and enjoys going to church and visits from her five grandchildren. She arrived at the nursing home when she was 100.
Baker, who was born in Brooklyn, said God was the reason for her long life. “He’s been taking care of me. I’ve had a lot of sick days but he wasn’t ready for me,” said Baker, whose hobbies include cooking, painting and visiting museums.
Price, a former housewife and hairdresser also originally from Guyana, said no special diet had kept her going.
“I got no secret because I do whatever everybody else do. I eat whatever I have to eat and I eat any food, any food I eat,” said Price, who has 20 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren and has lived at the nursing home since 2005.
The party was not held to celebrate birthdays, but was to mark the centenarians’ long lives, nursing home officials said. The center specializes in short-term, post-acute rehabilitation and long-term residential care. (Reporting by Gina Cherelus and Roselle Chen; Writing by Ian Simpson; Editing by Sandra Maler)