Neighbors to Sing Happy Birthday to Sunnyside Woman Turning 107

Ethel Plimack just before turning 104 in 2014. (Photo: Queens Post)

Nov. 22, 2017   By Nathaly Pesantez

Sunnyside is set to continue its tradition of singing Happy Birthday in large crowds to Ethel Plimack, a local on the verge of 107.

Residents will gather outside Plimack’s Sunnyside Gardens home, on a street she’s lived on for more than 70 years, to belt out in song and toast to the centenarian at noon on Thanksgiving.

Last year, about 150 people, including firefighters and local leaders, showed up to celebrate in a tradition that dates back to 2013, organized by Plimack’s neighbor, Patricia Dorfman, of the Sunnyside Artists group.

Plimack, who turns 107 on Nov. 28, has three children, all over 70, and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sylvia Plimack Mangold, her daughter, is a famed artist. James Mangold, a Hollywood director, is her grandson, along with Andrew Mangold, a musician based in Vienna.

Plimack is among the oldest New Yorkers, though there are a handful of supercentenarians, or people aged 110 and over, in the city, a spokesperson for the Department of Aging said. In the U.S., it is estimated that there are 2.2 centenarians per 10,000 people.

A native of the Bronx who moved to Sunnyside in 1941, Plimack worked for the Board of Education until she retired at 70. Then, she took on an administrative assistant job at Marymount Manhattan College until she was 94. She also took part in a longevity study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Plimack has been a community activist for decades, and participated in efforts to landmark Sunnyside Gardens.

The gathering will take place just before 12 p.m. outside 39-54 46th St, between 39th Street and Skillman Avenue, where Plimack will emerge from her front door donning her usual silk scarf and bright lipstick.

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