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February 12th, 2013 by Temple City Tribune
Lanyi is one of only 400 people known to live this long
Arcadia Resident Nadya Lanyi who recently retired – at 100 -because she thought “It was time” just last week celebrated her 107th Birthday at Vista Cove.
From dealing with traumatic events like seeing her grandmother being shot in Russia to waiting on extremely long breadlines as a child she was beaten by Cossacks. It wasn’t an easy life for Nadya. But she shares her stories with fondess for her adopted New York.
Hence the theme at her birthday party Thursday… New York .
Hot Dogs ( authentic NY style) along with Soft Pretzels, helped Nadya and he guests get in the New York State of mind. As she walked over to her cake, you’d be hard pressed to think this woman was 85 let alone 107.
During the Russian Civil War, Cossack regions became centers for the Anti-Bolshevik White movement, a portion of whom would form the White emigration. The Don and Kuban Cossacks even formed short-lived independent states in their respective territories. With the victory of the Red Army, the Cossack lands were subjected to famine, and suffered extensive repressions. During the Second World War, Cossacks fought for both the Soviet Union and for Nazi Germany.
Dealing with such struggles made Nadya all the more determined and strong. Her work ethic which began at 8 lasted some incredible 92 years.
Nadya Lanyi decided it was time to stop working once she reached a century.
After years of raising a family and working all her life, this sprightly 107 year old originally from Lithuania, wondered what all the fuss was about while we were talking last week. “What’s so special about me?” Lanyi said. Well, perhaps, some of the amazing stories you tell.
One such story we’d like to share with our readers:
At 85 years young, Nadya was mugged – they got away with her purse. She started running after them yellin “Stop- Thief, please someone call the police”…Now, remember, this is an 85 year old woman. This is no lazy woman: She worked for US Bronze also loved hiking all her life so her physical strength is well maintained.
Eventually after a long chase, New York’s finest tracked down the slimy culprits and had them under arrest. An officer tracked down Nadya so she could ID one of the perpetrators. Once positive ID was established, one of NY’s boys in blue said “Would you like to hit him?” the officer was referring to the mugger who stole her purse. Responding in the affirmative, Nadya took her right hand and slapped the offender right across his kisser with all her might! She and the officers had a good laugh about that! We all had a good laugh hearing that story. Talk about New York justice!
Nadya is new to the area ( she’s been here about 14 months) after living the past 70 years in the same rent controlled apt in Manhattan where she raised her family. Vista Cove is a far cry from the apt, on 101st Street in New York City across from the Hudson River. That apartment apparently rents for considerably more that the $500 Nadya paid.
What’s her secret to longevity: Simple, Hard work, hiking as well as good food and exercise. Although she admits to smoking a little earlier in life, she says she stopped and that was another reason she outlived two of her three sons she claims.
Nadya stressed that steaming vegetables for a “very brief time” was also key to her health. This combined with fresh salmon, apples and other fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Nadya started working in Maripol, Ukraine when she was only 8 years old where she lived in an orphanage. Mariupol is an important industrial center and seaport. Two of its steel mills – Ilyich Iron and Steel Works and Azovstal – are among the largest in the country and make up a significant part of Ukraine’s total exports. It was here that Nadya worked so many years.
She really wanted to be a librarian but found typing jobs instead in many companies in the Ukraine.
While Nadya misses New York, she enjoys her time sitting outside in the courtyard of Vista Cove, reflecting on her long life.
Before we left, we had a chance to see some of Nadya’s sculptures and collection of photographs (Oh yes, and a letter from President Obama)
Her son, Ron, who visits her almost every day, is a professor of English at PCC stopped by at the conclusion of our first meeting last week. Nadya admits she missed New York but enjoys her time at Vista Cove except she says “they are always feeding me….I have a bit of a tummy now.”
-Photo by Terry MIller