Eighty-two Long Islanders and Queens residents danced around the Knights of Columbus in Mineola on July 24 to celebrate Jean Mastrangelo’s 105th birthday. Among those who attended the celebration were Valley Streamers Ralph and Tina Poverino and Maryjane and Leo Vizzini.
Leo, who dances at the Knights of Columbus hall every Wednesday, said this week’s event was more crowded than usual because of Jean’s birthday, and Ralph said most of those in attendance were there to celebrate her milestone. “It’s something we’re not going to see that much,” he said, “a 105-year-old dancing like she’s in her 60s.”
The Polverinos, who are both 86, met Mastrangelo more than 25 years ago when they first decided to take dance lessons at the Knights of Columbus. They soon noticed that she took two buses to get to the dance hall every week from Flushing, Queens, with her boyfriend Pat Russo, who has since passed away. But without him, Mastrangelo said, she might have never taken dance lessons.
“I got this partner, he was an excellent partner and he insisted that I take lessons, so I took lessons with him,” Mastrangelo recalled in 2017.