FAMILIAL FACES of ITALIAN HARLEM: THE VINTAGE GALLERY

Andrea Altieri’s Bakery on Pleasant Avenue. Circa 1935. My paternal great grandfather, Andrea Altieri(left) great grandma Maria Altieri(center) and great uncle Albert Ciullo(front right.)

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SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF ITALIAN HARLEM!

Great-grandmother, Teresa Milo Puca. She was born near Naples, Italy in 1869. She married Stefano Puca in 1892, and immigrated to New York in 1905. Stefano and Teresa settled in East Harlem, and lived there until they passed. They owned a “second hand” store on East 110th St. She became a widow in 1927. and continued to run the shop until she died. Side Note:  Back in the day it was known as a Second Hand, or” Rag Shop.” Today, it’s called an” Antique Store.”

Grandpa Antimo Puca

.ANTIMO PUCA, my paternal grandfather. He was born in Sant’Antimo, Naples, Italy in 1896. He was the only son of Stefano and Teresina Puca. He immigrated to New York when he was 9 yrs. old. He married one of the most beautiful girls in East Harlem in 1917. (Photo to follow.) Somehow, our family name was changed from Puca, to Puco. It may have been a clerical error by the school, or by the vital records department. At any rate, the name changed to Puco, and it stayed that way. Antimo was in the produce business. He and his father owned a store at 323 East 108th Street, from circa 1916-1924. Antimo had various jobs. Circa 1916-1921, he worked for the New York Railways, as a trolley car conductor. He also sold produce on pushcarts, and put his 4 sons to the task of selling his fruits and vegetables, on the corner of 1st Avenue and East 110th St. (Right next to the 2 huge gas tanks.) Antimo loved music. He played the guitar, accordian and harmonica. (Between you, me, and the lamp post, {smile} grandpa wasn’t the best singer, but he sang his neapolitan songs with gusto and heart!)

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My paternal grandmother, Katie Ciullo Puco, (right) with my aunt Rose Puco. Nestled between them is my cousin Anthony “Jackie” Puco. This photo was taken in Jefferson Park in 1937. They are standing in front of the pavilion, known to East Harlemites as “The White House.”

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 CARMINE CAROLEI (far left) lived in East Harlem from 1917-1928. He was the head doll painter for ‘Madame Alexander,” a high quality doll manufacturer. Note: NYC’s FAO Scwartz sells Madam Alexander dolls up to the present day! Going back to Carmine, he also enjoyed playing music in his spare time. He ran a “speak easy,” back in the good old days of Prohibition. I remember my dad telling me that my great grandmother rented one of her storefronts to a speak easy. It was on E.110th St., between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Perhaps Carmine rented the space from my Bisnonna Teresina! (Hey, you never know!)

(Photo courtesy of Salvatore Carolei.)

429 E 117stPHILIP OCASIO, lived at 429 East 117th Street in East Harlem.This photo depicts Phil playing his saxophone on the fire escape at 429 E. 117th. Circa 1960’s.

(Photo courtesy of Philip Ocasio.)

rehearsal BFHSFabulous photo of the 1969 Benjamin Franklin High School Senior Band, rehearsing “al fresco,” for one of three upcoming talent shows.

(Photo courtesy of Philip Ocasio.)

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14 Comments on “FAMILIAL FACES of ITALIAN HARLEM: THE VINTAGE GALLERY”

  1. Phil Ocasio says:

    Thanks Angela… Pictures look great… Ciao… Phil

    • Sylvia Stano says:

      Thanks for the great pictures and lovely memories of E. Harlem. I also was born and raised there and have always cherished my life there. We lived on 106th St. between 2ndand 3rd Ave. when both aAvenues had elevated trains. Thanks for the memories.

  2. Theresa says:

    I also was born in East Harlem lived on 108th Street between 1st & 2nd

  3. Viola Nicosia says:

    Hello , my name is viola , I was a Bonomonte before I married lived at 425 East 116th street between 1st ave and pleasant ave. I’ve moved arround a lot and now live in fla.Love memories of the old neighborhood.Thanks for sharing. (PS nickname was Butchie)vinicosia@gmail vinvvvv

  4. anthony camarda says:

    what are the dates for the 2016 giglio feast

    • Angela Bella says:

      August 11, 2016 – August 14, 2016
      Feasts
      4 Days
      The East Harlem Giglio Feast!
      Feast begins Thursday August 11.
      The dancing of the Giglio is on Sunday August 14 at 1pm

      Italian East Harlem
      Pleasant Avenue between 114 street and 116 street
      NY, NY
      This event is accessible to people with disabilities.

  5. Nick Altieri says:

    Hi Angela,

    Just came across your web site. My last name is also Altieri (first name Nick). My family also came from Puglia. It’s a town just north of Bari on the coast called Giovinazzo. I was recently their on vacation a few years ago. Where in Puglia is your family from??

    Ciao,

    Nick

  6. Mike Monet says:

    What ever happen to the old man that was a long time 114th St tenant I think he use to live on the second floor and took care his mom before she pass I use to see him when I go to Rao’s he never left the neighborhood what was his name ,he would always be out with his news paper . He was still living in 2000 might be dead now.

  7. jsterrantino says:

    Hi. I am so excited to find this page. I’m trying to follow up on a family story, but I can’t find any leads. My great-grandmother owned an Italian restaurant in Harlem in, I guess, somewhere between the 1930’s and 1950’s and ran a brothel upstairs. I’m just trying to figure out the name and info on the restaurant. Her name was Rose Perone or Perrone. She was married twice- to a Fuscillo and a Mallozzi.

    Just in case this sounds familiar to anyone!
    Thanks, Joy

  8. Lorra Hansen says:

    My dad was Charlie the bug, his cousin Angelo, the jet. Grandma Rusty, Concetta, Grandpa, was foreman of the Steinway Piano Factory in Astoria.My mom , Mary Kolb, we had lots of cousins from 117 St and 119 St. We lived at 361 Pleasant Ave! My sister Dolores Phyllis passed in May 17,2016 after a five year illness! The next month I had a cardiac infarction! Dec.14,2016 , I had a triple bypass. My uncle Sonny had that and passed in 1999 on good Friday ! Anyone recall his Irish Wolfhound, Pal. He would RUN around West Forth and Jane St. He said the dog saved his life! People would abandon Pal at the lamp post! Sonny took Pal six months after his bypass!


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