Sunset Park seniors celebrate center’s 18th anniversary

October 15, 2011 Heather Chin
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The nearly 400 people who filled the dining room at New SpringGarden Restaurant on 65th Street in Sunset Park last Friday,October 7, were seeing red.

Red balloons, red tablecloths, pink cake, red and gold clothes -the color theme was as ubiquitous as the fact that most of thosedining were senior citizens in their 80s and 90s, gathered tocelebrate the 18th anniversary of the Eighth Avenue SeniorCenter.

The center is one of four senior centers operated by theBrooklyn Chinese-American Association (BCA) and provides meals,bilingual information, ESL classes, medical check-ups andscreenings, workshops, field trips and much-needed socializationand educational assistance to the Chinese seniors living in BayRidge, Sunset Park, Boro Park and much of southern Brooklyn.

I am very happy [to participate]; I have been to this event formany years, said Leung Ko, 92, who sat with 11 of his fellowseniors at the Millennial Roundtable with the oldest collectiveguest age. Millennial Roundtables are a BCA tradition of tables,each seating 12 seniors age 84 or above, for a combined age of1,000 years. We’re all friends, said Lim Kum Lin, 96, and Yen GumSoi, 93.

They are the people we are here for, said Chui-Man Lai, theassistant vice president for patient services and communityoutreach at New York Downtown Hospital. We are here to give themadequate health care, home environment, hospital care and if theyneed it, advanced care, too.

Elected officials and community leaders were also in attendanceto greet the seniors and watch them perform magic tricks and songand dance routines. For example, the Sixth Avenue Senior CitizensCenter Chorus even did a rousing rendition of John Travolta’sinfamous Saturday Night Fever dance.

[Seniors] are our legacy. We need to strengthen and assist thembecause they [have supported us], said Councilmember Sara Gonzálezat the event, who along with Councilmember David Greenfield,bestowed thanks on BCA President Paul Mak.

That message also resonated with newly installed NYPD PatrolBorough Brooklyn South Chief Thomas M. Chan, who noted, In[Chinese] culture and many cultures, seniors are very important tous. It is very important that we remember our elders. Just becausethey are older doesn’t mean they should get cast aside. They haveexperience and teach us things. My mother is 81 years old this yearand I am constantly learning from her.

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