Senator And Assemblyman Surprise Ex-Harlem Resident On Her 99th Birthday

August 7, 2017

New York State Senator Tony Avella (D) and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) made a surprise appearance and presentation of honorary proclamations to Luz Olmo Hernandez as she celebrated her 99th birthday alongside family and friends Saturday, August 5th 2017. A third honorary proclamation was provided by New York City Councilmember Paul Vallone, who was unable to attend the festivities in person.

“It was my pleasure to commemorate Luz Olmo Hernandez’s extraordinary life last week,” said Senator Tony Avella. “Throughout her 99 years, Ms. Hernandez has proven herself a true New Yorker who is dedicated to her community. I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with Ms. Hernandez.”

“It was an honor to attend Luz Olmo Hernandez’s 99th birthday celebration,” said Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein. “Thank you to Ms. Hernandez’s daughter Carmen Hughes and grandson John Christian Hughes for planning the event.”

Hernandez was born August 5, 1918 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In 1946, at the age of 28, she moved from her home in Rio Piedra, PR to New York City to make a better life for herself and her two children, Luis and Carmen. Her third child, Jasmine, was born in New York City. They took up residence at 327 East 100th Street in East Harlem where they resided for almost ten years before moving to the Jefferson Housing projects at 113th Street and 2nd Avenue in 1954 where Hernandez would continue to live for nearly 60 years.

Hernandez worked as a seamstress while raising her three children as a single mother. She worked in a variety of garment factories throughout her career until 1981 when she began assisting a friend with her bridal shop at 115th Street and 3rd Avenue. When the shop was sold 15 years ago, Hernandez officially retired at the age 84, spending her days making pastelillos, tasty Puerto Rican meat turnovers, for her Harlem neighbors and grandchildren.

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After nearly 70 years as a Harlem resident, Hernandez’s family made the difficult decision to move her out of her beloved Harlem neighborhood and into the Ozanam Hall Nursing Home in Bayside, Queens where she would receive regular care and live closer to her daughter and grandson, longtime Queens residents. In addition to her three children, Hernandez has six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

“We’re extremely honored to have State Senator Avella and Assemblyman Braunstein not only attend the celebration, but recognize my Abeulita for her contributions to her community,” Hernandez’s grandson John Christian Hughes said. “We were thrilled to also receive a proclamation from New York City Councilman Paul Vallone, who could not attend personally. This day has been so incredible for my family.”

Luz’s daughter and grandson, Carmen Hughes and John Christian Hughes, planned the birthday party to celebrate Luz’s 99th birthday. The festivities took place at the Ozanam Hall Nursing Home in Bayside, Queens.

Photo credit: 1) Luz Olmo Hernandez left 3rd from bottom – 1952. 2) Senator Tony Avella – Luz Olmo-daughter Carmen Hughes. 3) Luz Olmo – daughter Carmen Hughes-Assemblyman…d Braunstein.

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