At the Martin Lande House, seniors packed into a room to remember the woman they all called mother. Her name was Adele Lerner.
Ask anyone who knew her, and they'll tell you she was always active and curious.
"I once asked Adele, 'What would you like to know? You know what she answered? 'Everything!'" says 92-year-old Rose Prostak.
Lerner passed away in December, just days shy of her 110th birthday. On Wednesday, her friends at Selfhelp Community Services held a memorial to remember her.
"I went to her 100th birthday, and I remember she had a beautiful smile and looked happy and refreshed," said one friend.
Lerner was an active member at Selfhelp, which is home to about 20,000 seniors in New York City. Fifty of them are impressive centenarians. She joined the nonprofit at the age of 90.
The nonprofit focuses on maintaining seniors' independence. Lerner’s friends say she was the epitome of the home's purpose, which encourages them to thrive in their later years.
Lerner earned a fine arts degree at the age of 83 at Lehman College after picking up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of 60. In her 90s, she learned how to use a computer and the Internet at Selfhelp.
"And all of that, she was able to do on her own, as she chose on her time frame," said Stuart Kaplan, CEO of Selfhelp.
Kaplan credits Lerner's longevity to Selfhelp's services. He says it helped her continue her love for learning and surround herself with friends. Residents agree.
"I never heard her complain about anything," says Prostack. "She always had a smile for everybody. Everybody!"
It's that smile and that unending love for learning that those at Selfhelp will always remember.