Longtime Brooklyn resident celebrates 100th birthday at the River Cafe
During his 90th birthday party 10 years ago, Ben Rosen’s friend Peter Patterson promised to treat him to dinner at the iconic River Café on the waterfront in DUMBO if he made it to his 100th birthday.
This past Easter Sunday, Patterson kept to his word.
“About five years ago my son asked me, ‘You aren’t really going to make him wait five more years, are you?’” Patterson recalled. “I told him, ‘of course, it will give him something to look forward to.’ Besides, he’s in better health than most of us.”
Rosen was born in Philadelphia, but moved to Brooklyn before he was three years old—which means he’s lived in the borough longer than just about any other resident. He left for a brief period when he joined the Army Air Corps to fight in World War II, but was eventually discharged for medical reasons.
He never married, and worked at Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company, for over 25 years as a sales manager. He is a four-time Catesville handball champion. He currently lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn and spends his time with Patterson, whom he met 20 years ago at Grace Church during a Thanksgiving charity event, and his 91-year-old cousin Leonard Lipinski.
For turning 100, Rosen was presented with a proclamation from borough president Eric Adams and a letter from President Obama. Patterson also bought and framed a copy of The New York Times from the day Rosen was born.
“It’s such a pleasure to be here to spend this great day with my friends,” Rosen said. “Maybe [Patterson] thought that I would forget about his promise, but I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.”
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