EAST HARLEM SNAPSHOTS

Patiently waiting in line to enter the Jefferson Park Pool, circa 1940.

Patiently waiting in line, to enter the Jefferson Park Pool Pavilion, circa 1940. Link to photo credit:Ā www.pinterest.com/pin/408560997417598149/

 

EH 1st Ave 110th markets 1930'sJeff Park White House Pavilion circa 1905EH Jeff Pk Covello papers hspeh 1st ave 1908Thomas Jefferson Pool in EH 1936 nycgovparks.orgEH may 23 1934 vendor on 1st and 111th St

Tugboat on harlem river-1960-yaledoteduEast 119 bw 2nd 3rd Nov 9 1919 nyplEast 119 bw 2nd 3rd May 11 1919 nypl223 E. 114th st sanit campaign winner hspeh sanitation campaign-19486-27-1936_Dedication of Thomas Jefferson Pool-Street Scene after Ceremonies-lgJeff Pool by Bernard Hoffman 1936-academiadoteduPark Farm Contest-Max Ulrich-1939Park Farm Contest NYC dept of Parks&Recreation-1939Palace Theatre 125th St 2nd Ave-warofyesterdayblogspot125th st. second ave-warofyesterdayE.115th 1901 mcnyjeff pk ca 1902 op dy ceremony mcnyAunt Rosie&Grandma Katie-c.1937-00168644_4980341386270_1250765537_n3rd ave el 1955Vivian Maier-Sept 28, 1959, 108th St. East, New York, NYAhun 18503 E. 118 The Godfather116th bw fdr and pleasant facebook525 E 118 dan lasaracina


35 Comments on “EAST HARLEM SNAPSHOTS”

  1. jimmy paolino
    the 2nd to last picture is my cousin arthur and his family’s ( Ida,& joe nigro )place the charkolette formerly called the colonial tea room.I can’t tell if thats arthur out front if not i’m not sure who it is. lol jimmy

    • Lennt Montilli says:

      I realize my reply is ridiculously late, but I grew up on Pleasant Avenue and knew Ida and Joe Nigro well; also knew Artie and his sister (Libby, I think) and her husband Frank Pandolf. They also had a son named Joey who I knew very well even though he was a few years younger than me. I know Ida nad Joe have passed but would love to know about the others.

      • Frank Budano says:

        I talked to Joe Pandolf not long ago. We lived not far from them when we moved to Flushing. Pandolf’s parents were good friends with my parents. Libby and Frank passed away. Please email me and hopefully we can speak.

      • Frank Budano says:

        email address crabdigger@gmail.com

      • Jimmy Paolino says:

        Libby and frank passed away. Libby passed away last year, Frank about 2 or 3 years ago. Joseph lives in Pennsylvania, near New Kensington. My cousin Michael(Mikey Frogs) and I met with Joseph last year for dinner when he was in New York. Arthur is “in the country” My dad and Arthur,s Mom, my Aunt Ida were brother and sister. I,m from the Paolino side. We lived at 362 ahun 21,st street. Annette Artie’s wife is up in the Bronx. I,ll be on Pleasant Avenue in August for O,Giglio and in September for the father&son stickball game with Mikey Lentini. His brothewr Moe passed away last year.

    • Frank Budano says:

      my name is frank budano. I lived one flight over the char-ko-lette after I was born in1953. lived next door to Arthur’s sister Libby and Frank Pandoff. My grandmother lived on the top floor. Also remembered the people above me who had two boys, Aldo and Dicky. I had great memories growing up and will never forgot Char-ko-lettes hamburgers and malteds. I remembered Ida very well growing up.

  2. Frank LaSaracina says:

    WOW. the last picture is my grandfather’s house. I used to play in that front yard!

  3. frank budano says:

    I wonder if anyone knewthe la piallo family Michael & his brother Johnny

  4. Bob Maida says:

    Angela…Great pictures.and great site…thanks much…brings nice memories..

  5. George Di Leo says:

    Hi Angela, my name is George Di Leo. My parents came to America in 1926 settling in Lawrence, MA. To my parents friends it was known as Lorenzo Masso. My father came to America in 1924 to lay the ground work for bringing his beloved wife Anna to America. They then moved to E. 70th Street in Manhattan for a few years. .In the mid-30s they moved to 423 E. 123rd St in East Harlem and then to 414 E. 123rd St. They had a huge player piano that was moved which put a huge V-dent in the roof from ropes lowering the piano out of the window of their apartment. In the late 30s to early 40s they moved to rooms behind a store front, at 2399 First Ave, at the corner of 123rd Street. They operated a bread store then added vegetables. It finally became Epifaneo E Di Leo Delicatessen and we moved to an apartment across the street at 2394 First Avenue. The Deli was between Piragnoli’s Funeral Chapel and Dominicks ESSO station at the corner of 123rd St. and First Avenue. It became a well known Deli due to my parents hallmark becoming their quality cold cuts and salads and the only deli with 200 lb provolones hanging in the window. My dad actually picked his provolone, with a cork screw, from the docks through Daniele Products.

    The Montevergine feast was held every year on First Avenue between 123rd St and 119th St and run by the Piragnoli’s and Mottola’s. We did our sausage and clam stand and I did the schucking, oh my poor fingers. The band stand was across the street and our East Harlem Mambo King, of Palladium fame, and wrap around coat danced for everyone every night. My father previously worked for Morvillos (? spelling) of 106th St and they supplied the bread for our Deli. Zinzi who owned Zinzi’s paper, cardboard, and everything else collection business supplied the wine for our stand. He made the best white wine in New York.

    My hangout was at Jimmy’s candy store around the corner from our deli on 123rd. St. We would congregate on Jimmy’s candy store milk box and harmonize…..we were really good and should have cut a record. Jimmy’ son Larry played the trumpet and took singing lessons. He finally took the name Larry Bene and started a group. I can’t remember the name but they did release a number of records and performed with Jackiie Mason and others.

    I remember the great Holy Rosary marching band of which I was a one valve trumpet player. We would march through East Harlem each year for Confirmation Sunday and what a turnout we had watching us. Those were the days of Monsignor Archese, Father Mazziata, and others.

    I remember my Suunday afternoon dinners when I was tasked with going to the corner bar with my father’s tin beer can for a fill up at fifty cents, wow. I also remember we did many sandwich orders for the many Italian Football Weddings, and oh did they fly.

    I remember stringing wire antennas on the roof so mom and dad could receive broadcasts from Italy on their short wave radio. They were extremely nationalistic with complete dedication to Italy

    I remember the picnics on the grassy hills at Orchard Beach and finally graduating to Jones Beach. We were a family of six children and we would pack into the back of dad’s bread delivery van and sing all the way to and from Jones Beach.

    There was a lot of pride in Italian East Harlem especially from the very strong Italian women, they were amazing. My mom worked along side dad during all the years of operating the Deli in East Harlem and the Bronx. She did the books and ordering and taking care of customers. I was the youngest deli clerk in New York and started cutting cold cuts when I was 11 years old.

    Then the 50s rolled around and we had meetings in the old Palace movie theatre known as the dump on second avenue and 123rd Street. That was about the announced projects that the Mayor of New York and Robert Moses, who both hated East Harlem and vowed to break it up, were going to build. The site was between 120th Street and 124th Street from First Avewnue to the East River Drive. I’ll never forget the deep mental anguish they caused when they announced that a business needed to be operating withing a very short time of begining construction. Of course that marked the end of any business in that area since they wouldn’t be paid for relocating. How could they meet the announced time frame, all residents would have already moved and the business’ would all have failed. My folks opened the new Deli on White Plains Rd and 219th St.. I’ll never forget opening day. They had used all of their savings and on opening day we stood in front of the store to greet customers. They opened with a few dollars and change in the register……their stamina and refusal to give up and be beaten resulted in developing another successful Epifaneo S Di Leo Delicatessen with a following of many previous East Harlem residents who had moved to New Jersey, Connecticut,
    Long Island, Westchester County and the Bronx. That success story and character of East Harlemites is what East Harlem was all about. Strength, Character, do it at any cost, and never give up attitude. My parents and family and their friends were the essence of East Harlem. That was a once in a lifetime occurence. Do you want proof…..from Anna and Epifaneo Di Leo came four daughters and two sons. Five of us went to college and my brother became one of the best New York City Cab Drivers. This grew into a family of seven teachers including a principle, Lehman HS assistant principle, engineers through marriage, grandchildren in music production, movie Poduction Artist and Art director and all grandchildren except one going to college. That one became a New York City Police Gold Badge. I must mention the son of my best friend who attended Cardinal Hayes HS with me. His son is the CEO of Marvel Studios in Hollywood. Of course let us not forget James Luisi. NBA player and successful actor in Hollytwood.

    As for me, after serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, I became an Air Traffic Controller climbing to positions as a supervisor and facility manager.

    We lived through a period of extreme discrimination and hateful comments about and against Italians. I’ll never forget how my parents were hurt by that. But, they lived through it and survived in a glorious fashion. That my friends is the badge of honor of the people of Italian East Harlem.

    • Angela Bella says:

      Hello George,
      Thanks so much for you wonderful comment. I enjoyed reading it! šŸ™‚
      Best regards,
      Angela

    • Vincent Ponzo says:

      I went to Cardinal Hayes and graduated in 1956. I played foot ball for them. I lived on 115 street across from Mt. Carmel. I still have lots of friends from the neighborhood. We keep in touch. I also played for the Mt.Carmel when we played in a semi pro league and Mikey Lentini was the quarter back and I was a half back. We won 3 championships out of the 5 seasons I played and then I got drafted. No silly into the Army. Our coach was a guy named Zooch. We never knew his real name and he lived on 116th st.
      Yes it was a great neighborhood and an education at best. You could not learn more about life and what was good and bad. .

      • Angela Bella says:

        Hi Vincent,
        Thank you for your comment. I know Mikey Lentini! He, and my dad were friends. I am doing some family history research for Mikey. I’ll tell him that you said hi. šŸ™‚

      • Frank Budano says:

        Are u my old coach Ponzo this is. Frankie #74 just like my brother Nickey beans . If that’s you just like to say thanks for everything you did for all of us kids you are our hero for keeping most of us out of trouble.

      • Eddie says:

        Wonderful. I had the pleasure to know Monsignor McCormick while he was pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary on State Street downtown, he was the dean of discipline at Cardinal Hayes, most likely in the 1960s after you graduated. God bless. I view all these posts and pictures with a mix of sadness and joy. Sadness because its gone, joy because I experienced so much of this growing up in Brooklyn, the grandson of Italian immigrants from Ischia, Napoli and Castillo Mare del Golfo Sicilia. As I sit in my office 49 stories high in lower Manhattan with a view of the Statue of Liberty I often think about the great sacrifices my wonderful grandparents made to give us a better life in this great country America. May they and all our ancestors rest in the peace of Christ.

    • carmen ponzo says:

      I am also a Hayes graduate. I went there 1952-1956 and played football for them. What a great school. All my friends went there. We did not want to go to Bengamin? Franklin even though it was only 100 yards away. I also played for Mt. Carmel football team with Micky Lentini.

    • Pete Zinzi says:

      Wow, i really enjoyed reading that George. My grandfather was Frank Zinzi who was part owner of the junk show with his brothers Pat, Sal and Lou and ofcourse the father Andrea Zinzi. I wish i had some pictures from back then..Please any info, pics or stories email write me here or at peterzinzi@yahoo.com. This is wonderful to hear about the old neighborhood.

  6. OMG, I know Mikey Lentini too. He was such a nice guy. I grew up in East Harlem too. I used to go to the Jefferson pool all the time when I was a kid. I remember a horse trough in front of it where the horses would drink. We hung out in the park too and used to climb the fence to get into the pool at night.

    • I also remember the Char-Ko-lette on 116th Street between Pleasant Ave and the East River Drive.

      • Frank Budano says:

        I was born over the char-lol-Iette in 1953 my family was good friends with the Pandoff family .I played football when Turkey was Our quarterback good team great guys great memories .#74

  7. Hi my name Frank Megaro from 1939 to1964 I lived at 2125 first ave between 109 110 set went to st.annes school 110st my great cousin was father rofrano was pastor of st annes church and our lady of my Carmel church I loved the snap shots

    • Angela Bella says:

      Hi Frank,
      Thank you for stopping by! In 1931, Father Rofrano was an alter boy at St. Ann’s on ahun 10th. He was there for the marriage ceremony of my dad’s Aunt Nancy, in June of 1931.Also, “Big Mike” Capra was the best man! I recall from the Ellis Island immigration records, that my great grandfather once lived at 2123 First Ave., just next store to where you lived in 1939. Although that was way back in 1903, do you remember that building? Today, it is an empty lot. I’m not sure when they tore down that tenement building.
      Back to Father Rofrano, I had the honor to meet him just before he died. I went down to visit my great aunt Columbia, who was still living in East Harlem. It was the spring of 2006. 10 years ago. I’m sure glad that I was able to speak with him, although just for a few minutes. He seemed like a very nice man, and he remembered my family as well! I lived in the neighborhood from 1962-1966. I was only 4 when my family moved up to the Bronx. Although I don’t have many memories of East Harlem days of my own, I cherish and preserve the memories of my dad, and his family. Our family roots go back to 1901 in East Harlem. I am proud to be an East Harlemite, even if I was just a child when we moved out. Through this website, I am able to share the memory of a once great neighborhood. And in so doing, all that visit this website can share their fond memories as well! Tutti bene! It’s all good! šŸ™‚

  8. Kenny says:

    Is that a photo of the filming of The Godfather with “Carlo” and “James Cann on the stoop on 118th St above?? If so is that building still standing?? Thanks Kenny

  9. Paul Carroccio says:

    This is awesome! I loved on E ahun sixth between 2nd and 3rd. My mothers father had a pasta store on 2nd avenue and 106th and my fathers father had a latticinni on 107th. Moved to Flushing in 1952 when I was three. Love reading all the comments.

  10. Edward J. Filardo says:

    Love reading about East Harlem. It was a special place for sure. I spent the first 19 years of my life in a Brownstone at 433 Pleasant Avenue – from 1934 to 1953. Married a beautiful girl named Marie Raimo who lived at 437 Pleasant Avenue. It was officially called “The Grandview”, but those of us who lived in the Brownstones called it the “Big House” – not to be confused with the upstate residence for unruly citizens! Our house was on Pleasant Avenue between 122 and 123 Street. We played stickball on the avenue but went to 124th Street park for handball, basketball and softball on an asphalt paved playing field. Went to Holy Rosary Church, was an altar boy, went to P.S. 78, Thomas Jefferson Jr. H.S. (part of Benjamin H.S.), St. Cecelia on 106th Street, Cardinal Hayes H.S., Manhattan College and Fairleigh Dickenson University. Marie went to P.S. 80, Cathedral H.S., and Fordham University. We faced the East River Drive, the East River and Randall’s Island. In the summer when we didn’t have the 11 cents for Jefferson pool, the Harlem River right next to the Willis Avenue bridge was our pool.
    Edward Filardo

  11. George Di lEO says:

    Hi Ed, George Di Leo here. I lived on 123rd st, between pleasant and first, then to First Avenue across from our family Deli next to the Esso gas station. I believe Marie went to school with my sister vincenza Di Leo. I believe there was a brother who was my friend.
    We lived in East Harlem until 1952 when Mayor ODwyer kicked out italians by building the project. I also graduated from Cardinal Hayes in 1950. I was great friends with Ray Pastorino who you probably knew. I guess you remember the red heads on 123rd st., I’m still in touch with Nicky Red. In addition to Ray there was Spera who lived near to you.
    wow I’ll never forget diving off the Willis Ave bridge into who knows what.
    George Di Leo

  12. Edward J. Filardo says:

    George; Marie has a brother, now about 87 , name Generoso or Joey. On 123rd there was Annette Di Leo. Her brother was Robert ( an older brother), he was friends with Muzzy Datoli who lived above the Pastorinis on the corner of 123rd and Pleasant Avenue. I played ball with a boy named Apples who lived near the Flour Factory on 123rd. Joe Black, his sister was called “Girly”, also Marie went to school with Joannie Moran and Frances Corillo. I remember the Deli, the Esso Station, and around the corner from the station was a Candy Store. Of Couse there was the Palace Theatre (alias the Dump). Every Tuesday they gave out dishes, saucers, cups. I guess that is why we always felt at home when we went to our friends, houses. We all had the same chinaware! Wthout being too politically correct, do you remember the deli called “Harry the Jew” on 123rd ? About swimming in the Harlem river – that’s why we all were tremendous breast stroke swimmers. Always had to clear away just about everything that was flushed, ha! Sonny Spera was and is still friends with my older brother Frank. Spera’s wifes name is Esther. Stata Corte!

    • George Di lEO says:

      Ed, you sure brought back memories, who could forget Muzzy. When lived on Long Island in the early 70s we had a lot of get togethers with Spera and Esther and Ray Pastorino and Amelia. By the way Amelia passed of ovarian cancer about 5 years ago. Ray came down with Alzheimer’s after moving in with his adopted son Russel, in the Carolinas. Ray passed a few years ago, I was really saddened by that, we were very close.
      the candy store on 123rd St was Jimmy’s, we used to harmonize on his milk box. Hi son Larry Porky Beneduce did really well singing. He originated the Bell Hops and was front for all the big ones including Sinatra, Bobby Dylan, and frequently at the Copa. He lives in Florida, still singing and still sounds good. Do you remember Mario ‘stick with me you’ll wear diamonds” from 123rd between 1st and 2nd. He was set up in a drug bust in DC by the food fellas, I think. He spent a few years in jail and when he came out in about 1957 we gave him a great coming home party in an after hours joint Ray Pastorino and I owned in the Bronx. Whtt a party and what a turnout, only the boys from E. Harlem would do that.
      Mario Colluci lives in Florida near Larry Porky Bene, his performance name. I keep in touch with them.
      Speaking of the ‘Dump’, remember the candy and ice cream outlet under the stage. They also gave out encyclopedias. My mom through me collected the whole set. My sister Vincenza still has the original set, what a collector item.
      I remember when things wer getting a little out of control and
      Tony Piragnoli, owner of Piragnoli’s Funeral home next to our Deli, started having huge traveling crap games and card games in the funeral chapel. I was in the Air Force and my brother sent me the Daily News front page with the police escorting everyone out of the chapel. My brother said Tony came running through our Deli from the back yard with the detectives in hot pursuit. My father was yellin…’hey get out of were we sell salami…etc.

      I left a fortune in E. Harlem. In the basement of our deli I had a large box full of original baseball cards, including some Babe Ruth’s and Gehriq’s cards. There was a fortuen in that box in today’s dollars. It’t buried under the projects. l”ve always kidded Mario that we should go back, get a bull dozer and dig it up.

      Do you remember when I was one of the only catcher’s who would catch for Boneshfsky, from 1245h st., Roland from W. Harlem, and several other really great fast ball pitcher’s. I was a young kid and I had more guts then brains sitting right under the batters bats.

      For awhile I was also the bell boy for the traveling crap games, the good fellas ran, in an empty lot on 123rd St between 1st and Pleasant, next to the factory. All the diamond merchants from the diamond center were always there. Once in awhile the district would initiate a raid, My job was to ring the bell when I saw them coming. The buckets of money were pulled up to the apartment roofs on both sides and the players scrambled over fences. Some of those old guys set olympic high jump records. Do you remember the Tip Top club, I think that was the name, the big guys had on I think on 121st or 120th . My brother belonged to it. Do you remember Crazy…..somehting, he used to on a running jump climb up the wall of the garage. on 123rd, and then doing a header on the way down. He was the original spider man. He actually ran up the wall, amazing.
      I don’t know if you remember Robby Turkey, from 123rd bet 1st and 2nd. He was way up in the mob and a banker. Well a guy named Angelo Cigar head, ran numbers for Robbie, was married to Robbies sister in-law. Well he got caught flying out of Robbies apartment fire escape when Robbie caught him with his wife. Robbie beat the hell out of him in Joe Bimbo’s pool hall on 123rd and 2nd Ave. Robbie must have broke 20 pool sticks over Angelo’s head. That was the end of Angelo;s career as a number runner. Robbie was a great shortstop and made it to the Yankee farm tryouts. That wasn’t in the cards for him and gave it up to be one of the good fellas. I was a good friend of his younger brother.. He once took us to his underground gambling palace in NJ. Wow what an operation that was.

      Well that’s a little of the E. Harlem history not talked about very much. Stand by for the next episode.

      • Joe DeBiase says:

        Enjoyed reading this , my father was from 123rd st his cousin is Larry Bene, not sure if you knew any of the DeBiase Fami,y?

  13. Paul Carroccio says:

    I’m new to this blog but thought I’d weigh in. We lived on ahun sixth between 2nd and 3rd. My mothers father, nonno Rocco from Partanna, Sicily, had a pasta/macaroni store on 2nd Ave. and106th. My fathers father, nonno Tonino, from San Fratello, Sicily, had a latticinni at 311E107th. They lived across the street on the second floor where my father was born as were his five brothers. My grandfather made mozzarella and ricotta on 107th until 1928 when he rented and then bought (1929) a creamery and house in Hunterdon County NJ. He then shipped the cheese packed in ice on the RR to a ferry in NJ, brought it across to Manhattan then uptown to Harlem. My father opened a latticinni on 10th street and first ave. circa 1940 and ran it until 1948; we moved from 106th to Flushing in 1952. We left Flushing for CT in ’64. I’ve been back to ahun sixth many times and have photos. Great stories and memories.

  14. I am the Executive Director of Union Settlement Association (www.unionsettlement.org), which has been in East Harlem since 1895. There is an interesting timeline on our website at http://unionsettlement.org/about/union-settlement-timeline/.

    I’m definitely curious to know if any of you (or your family members) participated in our programs. I’d also be interested in getting copies of photographs of East Harlem, during any era.

    You can reach me directly at dnocenti@unionsettlement.org.


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