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Little Neck woman, 105, looks back on a century in city

A 105−year−old Little Neck woman celebrated her birthday last week nearly 100 years after she made the trek with her family from Hungary to New York.

Leap year baby Faye Radin, born on Feb. 29, 1904, in Hungary, was greeted by a group of 20 cheering residents of the Little Neck Nursing Home, on Nassau Boulevard near the Great Neck border, for a birthday celebration last Thursday.

Radin, who lived much of her life in Brooklyn and worked as a milliner, was honored with a bouquet of flowers, a large white−frosted cake, balloons of varying colors and piano tunes.

“Everybody should live to be 100 like me,” she told the crowd of friends, fellow patients and nursing staff at the nursing home.

Radin moved to New York with her parents and two siblings when she was 4 or 5 and lived in Manhattan as a child. She moved to Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Hungarian community, where she worked in a factory as a hat maker and married twice.

Pamela Liarikos, assistant recreational director of the nursing home, said the greatest difficulty of Radin’s life has been living longer than both her son and daughter.

“She always says that the worst thing is to outlive your children,” Liarikos said.

Radin, who moved to the center in 2003, has three grandchildren and four great−grandchildren. Liarikos said her favorite activities include music discussion, trivia, Jewish services and parties at the nursing home.

“She always asks me, ‘How many more years do you want to keep me alive?’ ” said David Tavakoli, Radin’s doctor. “I tell her, ‘Only God knows.’ It’s amazing. She’s always awake, alert and knows exactly what’s going on.”

Liarikos said Radin is not only the center’s most senior resident, but also the oldest in its history.

“She was a leap year baby,” Liarikos said. “Maybe that’s why she’s lived to be 105.”

Radin said she could not pinpoint the most exciting event she has seen in her century of life, which has included two World Wars, the dropping of the atom bomb, a man walking on the moon and the creation of the computer.

“There has been so much,” she said.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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