Oldest Man on Earth Lives on the Upper West Side

"I simply didn't die earlier," quips Alexander Imich

A 111-year-old New Yorker on the Upper West Side has been certified as the oldest man in the world.

Alexander Imich attained the rank when Arturo Licata of Italy died April 24 at age 111, just a week shy of his 112th birthday, according to Gerontology Research Group of Torrance, Calif.

Imich shrugged off the title in an interview with NBC 4 New York Monday when asked for his secret to living long.

"I don't know, I simply didn't die earlier," he quipped. "I have no idea how this happened."

Imich was born Feb. 4, 1903 -- more than a year before the New York City subway system opened, and the same year the Yankees played their first season in New York.

It was just five years after the five boroughs consolidated to form New York City. The Brooklyn Bridge was just 20 years old. The annual dropping of the Times Square ball wouldn't begin for another four years.

Imich was born in Poland, and fled the country with his wife after the Nazis invaded in 1939. They eventually came to the U.S. in the 1950s. She died in 1986.

He attributes some of his health to a clean diet -- chicken, fish, no alcohol -- and participating in gymnastics and swimming in his younger days.

He may be the world's oldest man, but he isn't the oldest person -- 66 women outrank him, according to Gerontology Research.

A 116-year-old Japanese woman, Misao Okawa, is recognized as the world's oldest living person.

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