Longtime New Yorkers have seen the comings and goings of plenty of bars, restaurants, people and trends. But at age 111, Alexander Imich—as of April 24, officially the world's oldest man—has seen more.
Imich hasn't lived in New York his whole life—he emigrated from Poland in the '50s after he and his wife were interned in a labor camp for refusing to accept Soviet citizenship. But that's not even the most interesting thing about Imich, according to Wikipedia:
"To make a living, Imich initially took up chemistry, but once [his wife] made a career for herself as a psychologist in 1965, Imich turned to parapsychology. His wife died in 1986, and he continued his lifelong interest in parapsychology, giving out the Imich prize for parapsychology research for several years until he began experiencing financial problems.
"He has written numerous papers for journals in the field and edited a book, 'Incredible Tales of the Paranormal' which was published by Bramble Books in 1995. He started the Anomalous Phenomena Research Center in 1999, trying to find a way to produce "The Crucial Demonstration", the goal of which is to demonstrate the reality of paranormal phenomena to mainstream scientists and the general public."
His fascination with paranormal activity notwithstanding, Imich is unsure why he's still around.
"I don't know, I simply didn't die earlier," he told NBC. "I have no idea how this happened."
Imich claimed the World's Oldest Man title after Italy's Arturo Licata passed away on April 24, one week before his 112th birthday. Imich, however, is far from being the oldest person—66 women around the world have him beat, the oldest being a 116-year-old Japanese woman named Misao Okawa, according to the Gerontology Research Group. The organization has tracked and identified a total of 71 women and four men who fall into the category of "supercentenarians," or those who are 110-years-old or more, though as many as 450 such people may currently be alive.
The world was a different place when Dr. Imich was born: The Williamsburg Bridge was constructed around the same time as his birth. The subway went into operation one year later. He was eight when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory caught fire. He was born the same year as the first World Series, and a solid year before Long Acre Square became Times Square.
When Imich does go, he'll be ready. “I am very interested in finding out how things are on the ‘other side,’” he reportedly said a few years ago, when he was a spry 107. "My goal in life has always been illumination."