Volume 17, Number 46 | April 8 — 14, 2005

Yun Lam Lee celebrated her 114th birthday at NYU Downtown Hospital with Dr. Norman Lee, her great grandson.

Downtown’s oldest (in all likelihood) celebrates birthday

Yun Lam Lee, believed to be the oldest living New Yorker, celebrated her 114th birthday at NYU Downtown Hospital Wednesday with her great grandson, Dr. Norman Lee, other relatives and hospital officials.

The elder Lee was admitted to the hospital Saturday with an infection and hospital officials arranged a party with a Chinese-English cake and flowers as soon as they heard about the big day.

"What a kind gesture," said Dr. Lee. "My great-grandmother has improved so dramatically under your care and now this --- it's really so nice." 

Dr. Lee coincidentally received medical training at the hospital during which time he lived with his great grandmother in Lower Manhattan.

The birthday girl, who has some difficulty speaking, smiled at the crowd gathered around her bedside and nodded her appreciation – and then swiped some icing from her birthday cake!

Living a simple but physically active life is the secret to her longevity, family members said. In the small Chinese village of her birth, there was no public transportation available, so Lee would walk everywhere.  She was still very active until a hip fracture slowed her down in her 90's. 

She has one granddaughter, four great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren and still lives in Lower Manhattan.

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