Hell’s Kitchen’s Sophie Gerber celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday (Sunday) — and she let the world in on her secret: “Don’t let a day go by without laughing at something.”
Maria Rutilio from West Vibe Salon got a call on Friday to head over the road to cut and style Sophie’s hair for the special day — and a TV appearance on NBC News. “I hadn’t heard from Sophie for over a year. I was honored. She is a very inspiring, strong woman. She always has a big smile on her face. She’s the personification of optimism and energy — a role model for us all,” said Maria.
A new hairstyle was the first surprise for Sophie’s birthday weekend. The next was that NBC had organized a very special gift for her. Now fully vaccinated, she was reunited with her son, Joe, and they had their first hug in over a year. She told reporter Marc Santia: “How do you describe total joy and rapture? Holding somebody that you’ve nurtured since infancy — and tell him how much I missed him and how I want to stay close to him for as long as I possibly can.” Then Joe appeared — they hugged, they danced, they shed tears.
This time last year, Sophie had just left Mount Sinai hospital after winning her battle with COVID-19. Celebrations for her 99th birthday had to be socially distanced, with friends and family standing on W46th Street and waving up at her window.
The birthday girl had a message to inspire the city’s recovery. “I love New York. I’m a Manhattan baby,” Sophie told NBC. “You must tell yourself that you’re going to get through this and you’re going to get through it in the best possible way.”