by Kevin Walsh

Originally a northern section of Avenue A between East 114th and East 120th Streets –cut off from York Avenue, which was also originally Avenue A, by a bend in the Harlem River — Pleasant Avenue has been anything but, during its checkered history. A day-old newborn was found here in 1884; its throat had been cut. In 1935, Thomas D’Auria was stabbed to death witha bread knife — by his own father. In 1949, a saloonkeeper reduced the price of a glass of beer to a nickel. He was soon rubbed out by a competitor. Pleasant Avenue was the bailiwick of “Fat Tony” Salerno, the capo of the Genovese crime family. In 1971, Francis Ford Coppola filmed James Caan as Sonny Corleone beating up his brother-in-law in a fitting setting.

1867 Dripps atlas section showing Avenue A, which became Pleasant Avenue in the 1880s. This cutoff section was far removed from the more continuous Avenue A downtown, and it was renamed for its pleasant location in a then-rural enclave near the bucolic Harlem River.

Over the decades East Harlem became a mostly Italian neighborhood and later, mostly Latino. I recently walked the length of 116th Street from Broadway to the Harlem River, and wound up on this Pleasant enclave that, at least on this sunny day in August, revealed little of its violent past.

There are traces of an Italian past in East Harlem — I found several on 116th Street — but the most obvious one on Pleasant Avenue is Rao’s, the Italian restaurant at the south end of Pleasant and East 114th, one of the most difficult restaurants in NYC at which to get a table. The restaurant has only ten tables, and one seating per night. Bwanas with connections, like movie stars, mobsters, and politicians can, of course, get in more easily than the hoi polloi. The NY Times’ Mimi Sheraton gave Rao’s a 3-star review in 1977, and there has been an aura of exclusivity at the place after that. It was founded by Italian immigrant Charles Rao in 1896, and has remained in the family since. Rao’s sells a line of Italian specialties in supermarkets and groceries for those who can’t get in, and that’s mostly everyone.

The Corinthian-columned Manhattan Center For Science and Mathematics makes an impressive sight from East 115th Street, in the building formerly occupied by Benjamin Franklin High School. It is one of Manhattan’s most academically accomplished high schools, graduating 97% of its senior class in 2009.

Hydrant in USA or Puerto Rico colors.

The ground floor space on the SE corner of East 117th and Pleasant has been converted to a new restaurant. When the Google Camera Car went by several months ago [in 2009] the space’s old use as an insurance business was still apparent.

Looking at the well-built apartment houses on Pleasant Avenue at East 117th (left) and East 118th built by architects with a clue you’d never believe this used to be a very dangerous area. But appearances can be deceiving of course.

The east ends of both East 117th and East 118th are much busier now that they provide access to the new Target department store complex along the FDR Drive between 116th and 118th. On East 117th, though, I preferred to concentrate on a building largely unchanged since the Depression — the original fance and door are likely the ones seen here. I liked this handmade George Frank Woodworking sign next door.

The dead end of East 118th east of Pleasant Avenue is one of the few uptown Manhattan blocks still paved with Belgian blocks. I liked the small mansard-roof building with the dormers. The new Target Center can be seen at the end of the street.

The Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Rosary can be seen looking west on E. 119th from Pleasant Avenue. The parish was established in 1884 and the church was constructed between 1898-1900.

Photographed August 2010, page completed October 5, 2010


Bob Oppedisano March 7, 2012 - 12:37 pm

You just missed Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church around the corner on 115th St, scene of an historic religious feast to the Madonna in July that used to draw 10s of thousands of Italians each day from all over (including us from Brooklyn). A much smaller feast, with its own giglio, is still held. The neighborhood was once the largest Italian community in the city, a place where many moved to after first settling downtown, and 1st Ave was lined cheek by jowl with pushcarts and food stores of all kinds from 96th to 116th and above. . Lexington Ave was a dividing line between Italian and Latino Harlems, and one crossed with some danger you were Latino.

joe May 28, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Italian is Latino
I think you meant to write Italian and Hispanic ?

Anonymous April 4, 2019 - 9:17 pm

Italians are not Latino

Vic Anthony April 8, 2020 - 10:00 am

Italians are definitely Latin. In the US though, we use the word incorrectly to mean people from Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries, South and Central America. Latin was originally spoken in Rome, Italy. Latins are people who speak French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. The term is used incorrectly in the US.

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 12:48 pm

Thank you for the lesson,Vic. I did not realize this but grateful to finally learn it. All the best. Frank

Margaret April 4, 2019 - 9:21 pm

Italians are not Latinos. Latinos are Spanish speaking People like Puerto Ricans. Italians are Italians.

christine Landrum De Lima April 29, 2021 - 1:15 am

Margaret , the fact is Latino describe people who speak Latin languages , derived from Latin : Italians ,French, Portuguese, Spanish , Romanian. You may chose to believe whatever, but these are the facts, like it or not .

Margaret April 12, 2019 - 5:57 am

No it’s not Italian is Italian, i don’t know where you got that from.

Capiche August 30, 2019 - 10:24 am

Italian is the original Latino. Look it up and how the word “Latino” came to be. They have been getting ripped off with funding by not putting down Latino. The original word “Latino” was from Latin Speaking Culture.

The Latin words and Latin came from Italy, thank you.

Vic Anthony April 8, 2020 - 10:03 am

You know most people prefer to live in ignorance, as long as it suits them. That’s why politicians have so much power. I’m Italian and I know I’m latin and proud of it, unfortunately the term is incorrectly used in the US.

Robert December 8, 2019 - 12:12 pm

Yes, I will have to admit, when I was 10 yrs (born in 1944) though 99% Italian in my neigborhood, the supers son was black. Lenny was his name. Also 1 or 2 ricans on 117st. Lived in 441 e. 116st. 1944 to 1958.

Frances ORourke May 22, 2020 - 6:41 pm

I was born on 120th Street and first avenue. I was born in 1944 also.
FRANCES ANGELINO was my maiden name.

Anonymous July 24, 2020 - 8:20 am

I lived at 2334 First Ave on the 3rd floor …you lived on the first floor

Raymond Montoro January 23, 2021 - 5:37 pm

Do You remember the Pastry Shop on the corner of 120 & 1st Ave? And next door to that What about the Chinese Laundry named Hop Lee? My Mon sent me to shop across the street at the Supermarket. I think it was named Sloans?

Charlotte Farrell January 27, 2021 - 12:04 am

I lived at 2232 First Avenue on the 4th floor in apartment 7.

Latino is not a description of Italians. It’s a description of people of Hispanic ethnicity. I should know. I’m part Italian.

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 12:56 pm

I remember the pastry shop on 120th st. and first avenue that you mention Raymond Montoro. I never bought a cake there but always stoped by for Italian ices that one of the twins (Frank or John) served when he worked there.

Al Heitzer January 22, 2022 - 5:40 pm

Italian is not Latino.

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 12:46 pm

There was lots of Tension between Italians and Hispanics in the 50’s n 60’s. You should see the Old Neighborhood Now, It will make us all, Hispanic and Italian Proud.

Manuel ROSARIO August 14, 2018 - 9:05 pm

You are right about the tension. We moved in into 90 Paladino and I learned quickly how to stay away from the Italians but after some hard times we learned to live together. Great block and plenty to do,..

Anonymous August 11, 2020 - 6:50 pm

Dime bender
The social club across from the gas station on 1st ave

Victor August 17, 2019 - 1:33 pm

I went to to Benj Franklin jhs in the late 50s and still remember the tension between latins/italians back then..i also remember the killing of Richard Zambrana.he was in 7th grade in my class and was really mean with latins at the school and
Jefferson Park..he was found dead in the East River
stabbed127 times and his mouth was blown up with cherry bombs n fire crackers..i remember there was a man that would sell hot dogs on the corner of 115 st n pleasant ave. with a drink for 15 cents..i lived at 105 1st n sec.ave.

Robert December 10, 2019 - 5:54 pm

Victor, that kid, richard, spelled Zambrano, was my age. He lived just around the corner from me. He stayed with kids his age when I was there, but then started hanging with much older kids. The real gang members. That’s what I think turned him mean. Those 50s was gangs all over. Sportman, rangers, red wings, Fordham baldiys etc. It just the way it was. Thank God it changed. Cant just blame group.

Frances,Angelino July 4, 2020 - 8:54 am

Richie Zambrano was killed and found in East River

Angelo June 13, 2020 - 9:23 pm

From what I understand, back in the late 30’s and after, Benjamin Franklin HS was referred to as “Benny’s Flop House”. Can anyone attest to that?

Vincent Ponz August 18, 2022 - 11:19 am

I lived on 115 ST and First Ave….did not go to FRANKLIN…I went to Cardinal Hayes….1952-1956……Played football for them and then went on to semi Pro with the Mt Carmel football team….we won 3 out of 5 championships the five years I played….

Robert December 9, 2019 - 11:42 am

Yes, I will have to admit, when I was 10 yrs (born in 1944) though 99% Italian in my neigborhood, the supers son was black. Lenny was his name. Also 1 or 2 ricans on 117st. Lived in 441 e. 116st. 1944 to 1958. Knew Richard personaly, were same age. Only went bad when hanging with older kids. Gang members. never found out murders

Pablo Torres August 9, 2018 - 1:44 pm

I don’t know how old you are but I’m 72 and the ‘Mason/Dixie” line was the 3rd Ave El which divided the Italians and Blacks/Latinos

Antonio Adorno August 25, 2018 - 4:02 pm

The line was moved after Wagner and Jefferson Projects open. If you remember the boundary, you must remember the 3rd ave El train.

Robert December 21, 2019 - 11:26 am

When I lived there, the boundary was lexington ave. The Cosmo theatre was South side of 116st. Between 3ave. And lexington. another exciting day was riding the subway all day around the city to 15 cents.

Frances ORourke May 23, 2020 - 1:14 pm

I also remember the Cosmo theatre I lived 120th and First Ave. Born in 1944. Loved the neighborhood

Vincent Calderon June 2, 2021 - 3:59 pm

dang hearing all this brings back so much memories for me I live in Wagner Proj back in the 60s I hung with PR and Italians from 119st my compadre had a townhome on 119st Pete Rivera we all did West Side Story Using Italians and Puerto Ricans it was great I wish I can remember all their names I went to JHS 45 down the street from Wagner and went to PS 80 too,,

Anonymous August 10, 2018 - 6:55 am

I lived bet Lexington n 3rd aves. East of 3rd ave was the border. I was only chased when I got to 2nd ave on my way to the boys club .

Robert December 13, 2019 - 12:12 pm

I loved the boys club. I must have been there every day, during the summer with no school. My sister says there was a program where you were given a small plot in Jefferson park to grow your own vegetables. Sister older. Cosmo thearter was real treat. Creature from the black lagoon kept me from sleeping right for a week. I just New it was going to come from the east river, up the fire escape and get me. Ha.

Robert December 4, 2019 - 12:19 pm

Just found this site. Don’t even know if i am posting in right place, so here gos. First thanks to all for reminding me where I came from. All the good and sometime not so good memories. I am robert. Lived at 441 e 116st. 1944 to 1958. Moved to the bronx. Like move poor. When in back yards to pick up dropped cloths pins. Boiled them clean and used them. Boiled empty bottles. 2 cents each. Later shines shoes on corner of bank. 116 and 1st. Ave. Baptised communion conformation all at lady Carmel 115 st. Yes p.s. 78 then James otis. Yes to boys club 110 or 111 st. Yes gang. The bad one. Yes Jefferson park and pool. Remember hawk social club Christmas party for neighbor kids. Presents ran out so adult member took out large tool of bills and handed test of kids on line cash. Payday yes. Corner barber shop where vision sweep on floor and uncle cut. Owner 1st chair was al. Some friends was Freddy Philly trench.

buff brothers j.r. Come down memory lane with me. Anyone remember carpet gun fights ?

Robert December 5, 2019 - 12:11 pm

Also sal, Eddie and loved giving Marie ride on rented bike. 25 cent hour. Next door was a baby carriage place. This was on pleasant ave. 1st ave. 110 or 111st. Chicken market. Pick one, he cut head of put in boiling water, 50 gallon drum, defuttering and in Brown bag.. Juke box in candy door 2 building down. Iltian feast on summer everybody looked forward to. Sister Rosemarie worked at. Balls got to go in little fish bowl for goldfish. Zeppoly s my. Favorite. Close to mom’s fried dough with sugar.

Anonymous August 11, 2020 - 2:38 pm

As a boy I sat in Delightful Resturant in a booth with gangsters as nd cops in the same booth…Johnny D was one of the guys they were discussing the murder of a nun…and other horrible things that happened to her…and what to do with the pos when they found him…I think the cops said ” do whatever you want with him” they exchanged pleasantries and parted company. When I saw the cops come in the door and walk towards our table I thought we were getting arrested…I was only 7 years old

David Peters December 27, 2012 - 6:59 pm

A little history on the George Frank Cabinet Shop pictured. it’s just off Pleasant on E. 1117th. As far as I know it has always been a commercial cabinet shop but Mr. Frank is a much interesting story, I met him a few times before he passed away in the 1990’s or maybe a little later(I’m in the same trade as him Antique Restoration). In his day he was the top antique restorers,refinisher, a pioneer in new techniques and teacher, he was Hungarian by birth but relocated to Paris where he set up shop, among his clients where the Louvre, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and the Art Deco designer Jean Pascaud. At some point he moved to NYC where he lectured and worked until his death. A shop on E.117th still bears his name

Mtk January 22, 2013 - 10:39 pm

Pleasant Avenue was the major conduit for heroin in the United States during the late 1960s. See David Durk’s (former NYC cop) book The Pleasant Avenue Connection.

Robert December 19, 2019 - 6:05 pm

That book written by person that didn’t live there. Facts may not be accarite. Lived 116st. 1944-1958. Moved to bronx, but hung out in old neighbor afterwards. In t
he mid 60s there were drugs moved in from the West side of harlem. I believe the drugs were there long before the mob got evoled

Bill Caravetta April 4, 2013 - 2:57 pm

I grew up at 445 E 120st went to PS78 Scott’ies candy store on 118 st.went to Holy Rosery. 1959 to 67 hung out had friends and everything on Pleasant ave

frank budano August 30, 2013 - 9:44 am

I also went to ps78 .I’m 60 year old and sure that I know many people and friends you do. I hung more by roses candy store 116 between pleasant and first and walked what I call the big square from first 114 to 120 down to pleasant and back that was my workout many times a day. played baseball with the kids at 117 stickball with kids from 118&119 and basketball with kids on 120 and our football games from 114 to 116.

Bill Caravetta November 10, 2013 - 2:47 am

I think I know you,I’m also 60.and you also knew my you remember Scottie’s candy store?

Bobby Garofalo January 20, 2015 - 4:21 pm

I’m 57 and went to Holy Rosary School. I remember Scottie’s and the best egg creams.
Also do you remember all those Almond Joy and Mounds boxes that he kept all his merchandise in?

Ramon July 23, 2017 - 8:36 am

I used to buy used comics at Scottie’s for 5 cents, and then he would buy them back for 2 cents to resell. The used comics were towards the back of the store on the right hand side. We would also buy our Deener’s (Spaulding pink balls for playing stickball) at Scotties for 20 cents.

Anonymous August 7, 2017 - 5:26 pm

You no lies I lived those memories

john coarse June 7, 2019 - 9:06 pm

wow did you live on 119 2fl btw pleasant and first

frank budano April 1, 2015 - 7:20 am

I played football with both mt carmel teams from 116 st 1969 to early 80s played with danny legs, nice guy good friend don’t come better.girls gave me the nickname Frankie nuthouse and that was that.

frank budano April 1, 2015 - 7:27 am

how many of you out there remember the bakery 118 and pleasant ave great crumb buns and the round cheese buns with the icing.

Dennis Cotto February 11, 2018 - 5:58 am

They used to give me free breadsticks. I loved that bakery as a kid

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:27 am

I lived on 115st across the street from Mt.Carmel. Went to the school and yes I was an altar boy too. The reason for this post is that I played football from 1956 -1961 with Mickie Lentini. He was the quarter back and I was a half back and of course the name of the team was Mr Carmel. We won 3 out of 5 championships those years and played the Jets before they were the Jets and they were called the Titans. Our coach at the time was a guy knicknamed Zooch [we never knew his real name] who has polio as a kid and had a withered leg. He would sometimes play if someone got hurt. My good friend Arnold lived on Pleasant Ave on the east side of Pleasant Ave between 116 st and 117 st. Today we live no more that 300 yards away from each other. Peter Bruno lived nearby on 117st and also played football with us on the same team.

Anonymous March 25, 2017 - 3:37 am

Kushkas….wasn’t that the name? Coconut covered buns. Well I’m 77 and I lived at 351 Pleasant Ave, next to Rafies Bakery–the pretty building with the patio. Lonny was Rafie’s son and Florenda was his daughter. My brothers were Sonny and Buddy. I’m Chippy. It was great then

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 2:16 am

my name is Ronnie. I used to live on 119th and pleasant ave. worked in the bakery making pagnotte with the owner.i also worked for Patsy’s 118 and First Av. PS78 was the school I went to. The last townhouse on 119th st there was a club named THE Nightawks.
Great all days !!

john March 1, 2017 - 4:58 pm

I lived at 446 east 122 st I am 89 years old born and reased in east Harlem
I loved it I remember patsy’s and the Nighthawks went to ps 80,.HS
went to school with Mario Mauro

Marialisa May 30, 2017 - 4:45 pm

I spent my childhood visiting my grandparents and aunts and uncles on east 115th street. This was in the 1970s maybe you knew some of them the name is Staffa.

BOBBBY May 7, 2017 - 10:53 pm


Ray Ranghelli April 10, 2018 - 11:56 am

You worked at the Ranghelli Bakery? Assalone Ranghelli started the bakery, he was my great uncle.

Anonymous October 22, 2020 - 5:32 pm

Ronnie did you know a guy named Vito who played pool in patty bones at a hun 119 and first Ave?

Jose Rosado December 11, 2014 - 1:17 pm

I am also 60 and grew up on 117st, and played baseball with the boys on 117th between Pleasant and First Av. I was a lifeguard at the Jefferson pool when I was only 15. I need to go check out my old stomping ground with my family. I now live in PA. ASlo attendted the Boys club on 110th street. What a small world. Would love to visit the old pizza shop on 1st Ave bewteen 117 and 118st.

Ralph January 7, 2015 - 8:44 pm

Hey I also played baseball on the 1952 Franklin team , where we won the state championship

Ralph January 7, 2015 - 8:47 pm

Coach Spiegle was the Coach of the baseball and Basketball Teams

Anonymous August 22, 2017 - 8:39 pm

Patsy’s is the name

Frank Budano May 25, 2020 - 5:48 am

I wouldn’t trade my life growing up in east Harlem with anyone great times good memories good friends great baseball and football teams I pray for those who didn’t make it died so young love to the old neighborhood and thank u for all the lessons I learned.

frank budano February 19, 2018 - 1:22 pm

jose was your coach a short older Spanish man I would setup hardball game with the keds from 117 street I hugout 116 street but lived 408 117 street near the parking lot I was friends with Frankie who had 2 hot sisters I would pitch most of the games,

Garylombino May 5, 2018 - 1:53 pm

Frankie nuthouse I always liked you and your brother nickey beans both of you were guys and ball players thanks for saying nice things about my brother Danny legs this is his brother Gary I never missed any games or fights you guys were great

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 1:03 pm

Hi Gary Lombino. I knew you brother Danny when he was younger and Alex, who lived on the block dated your sister,Joan. I also so knew a Eugene who lived in your building and had just started taking drum lessons. Do you know if Eugene ever mastered the drums. Hope you and your family are well.

Jimmy Cunningham September 14, 2018 - 7:05 pm

Hey Jose My name is Jimmy Cunningham an i live at 451 east 117st between 1st an Pleasant ave. I’m 55 an moved out in 74-75 amazing how much the place has changed. Was good friends with the Marangos an Blackwells. not sure if you knew any of them but it was nice to see the old neighborhood.

Micaela October 25, 2018 - 9:53 am

Are you related to Johnny Cuningham? A good friend in the late 60’s He was born in 1942 He went to Northeastern Junior College was in Peace Corp in Africa and served in Korea. Where is he now I’d love to catch up with him. Thanks

Micaela Vining August 16, 2020 - 10:53 am

I would love to find JC also. No clue where he is. Also knew him in the late 1960’s when he was at Lowry Field in the USAF. Long story, but not exactly related. Best person I ever knew, and we have unfinished business. Have you
found him? Micaela Vining

Micaela December 26, 2020 - 11:25 am

I know my son and grandson now. After 51 years. Help if you can. Please.

Anonymous November 6, 2018 - 1:47 pm

Jose Do remember a team called the Arrows? I lived at 446 between 1st and Pleasant ave. The Arrows had red n black jackets my # was 99. I used to play soft ball in the HS field across from where Rao’s is..I also played a lot stoop ball on 117 st.

Chino September 28, 2020 - 5:41 pm

My family and I lived at 429 East 117 street first ave / pleasant ave .greatest days Ever . Born 1960 .played every sport possible in the block 117 st. with all my friends/ neighbors . Yes lots of crime happening but for us was lots of fun I between until 1978 families started moving out then we moved to 2065 first ave. Across the street from Delightful restaurant lots of great memories there.we had a team for every sport I was always involved

David Nogueras January 2, 2021 - 5:20 pm

A shout out for Jose Rosado aka Chino. This is David from 429 E 117 #10

lyons January 30, 2014 - 1:16 pm

I WENT TO PS78 ALSO AND I REMEMBERS SCOTTIES CANDY STORE AND ALSO MARYS CANDY STORE ON 118TH STREET My address was in the block of 117th street near Washburn wire Factory.

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 2:19 am

Was Scottys Candy store across the street of PS 78 ?? Best egg creams. My name is Ronnie by the way.

Ray December 8, 2018 - 9:11 pm

Ronnie I think you were related to my aunt Mary and uncle Johnny they lived on 117th st pleasant and the FDR drive.

Victor rivera May 8, 2017 - 11:40 am

I grew up by the factory we lived in the third building from the factory on the 6th floor walk up we went to lucys candy store on 117st also patsys an rexs ices miss the timed there

Bernadette Carrizzo (was Prchal) January 23, 2015 - 2:00 pm

I am 64 and hung out at Rosies candy store I went to Holy Rosary and am still friends with Ce Ce. We all went to Aruba together a few years ago

Elizabeth Leyser July 16, 2020 - 5:20 pm

I remember you… Elizabeth Neglia.. Holy Rosary. You were friends with Nancy Madonna. I was friends with Sharon Wallin

Mel January 16, 2016 - 2:13 am

Don’t know how I wound up on this site but gotta say a huge smile came over me when I read your post. I’m 58, born and raised @ 445, PS78 Kindergarten, big family of 4 bros and 3 sisters, baby bro went to Holy Rosary although most of us went to St. Paul’s on 118th.. We must have crossed path’s. Remember George’s across the street? How ’bout marble season, kite season, stick ball 🙂 Different times bro…

Ramon July 23, 2017 - 8:33 am

Was 445 between Pleasant Ave and the East River Drive. If so, how far down the block from Pleasant Ave?

ANTONIO ADORNO August 29, 2017 - 9:23 am

445 was on across from George’s Deli.. PS 80 was next to it. between Pleasant and 1st Ave.. I lived in 505, from 56 -76. I went to 78, from 57 to the class of 62. then onto 45… We had to have known one another.. Read some of my posts on this site for more info.

Eduardo October 29, 2019 - 11:31 pm

Yes, that is correct, I resided at 505 in the Wagner houses. Man do I miss my childhood. Growing up during the 1960’s in NYC was a wonderful experience.

ANTONIO ORTIZ September 5, 2018 - 11:14 am

We all stopped into Scotties…..what memories….it was the best.

Anonymous May 18, 2020 - 3:18 am

Im from 445 east 120th and pleasant avenue I remember scottie candy store Freddie’s grocery and meat market on 119 and pleasant and wonderful fireworks display the pleasant avenue boys put on on the 4th of July and we loved it this was the 70s I had a great childhood growing up over there

Patty Bonfiglio September 26, 2019 - 7:21 pm

I also went to Holy Rosary. Lived 526 E. 120th between Pleasant and the Drive

Frances May 23, 2020 - 1:39 pm


Miguel Medina January 25, 2020 - 6:23 pm

Do you remember the Medina’s on the 4th Floor?

Nancy April 13, 2013 - 3:28 pm

East Harlem was the greatest place to grow up in back in the 1940’s & 1950’s.
A wonderful sense of community, not like today when you really do not know who your neighbor is.
I grew up on 117th St Bet. 1st & Pleasant Avenues, went to PS 78, was married in Holy Rosary Church. Stickball games every sunday, Jefferson Park (Pool) the plots where we planted vegetables, Rao’s Bar (wasn’t a famous restaurant back then) just a local bar with dogs lying out front basking in the sun. Greek the hotdog guy, all the local candystores where we hung out and were safe. No school shootings in those days. There were gangs back then and they did not carry guns. They were our protection. We didn’t need security. Had to have my say.

bill caravetta April 25, 2013 - 9:28 pm

Hi Nancy,I have done the same thing as you but in the 50s and 60s wow

Dan Buonagurio July 8, 2013 - 1:29 pm

Hi Nancy I too was born and raised at 117 St. between 1st Ave & Pleasant Ave. I went to PS 78 then onto Ben Franklin.Use to hang out in Eleane;s candy store.

Nancy September 1, 2013 - 7:47 pm

Hi Danny,
I’m a little older than you. I believe you had a brother, Corky Joe. Right? You also had a sister, Angie. What ever happened to Joey? My husband and I went to his wedding.
I lived at 441 across the street from your building. Yes, the ARROWS… husband Manny was on the older ARROWS.

Dan September 26, 2013 - 3:16 pm

Hi Nancy You sure do know my family. Joey is still living in the Bronx.
Angie is down the shore AC.
Manny Had brother named Benjamin.
Did you live on the 1st floor at 441?

Kenneth Lake February 3, 2014 - 1:56 am

Hi Nancy I don’t think I know you and I don’t think you know me BUT I did know Benjamin, Manny’s younger brother Benjamin Bayron or Byron (not too sure on the spelling) is that his name. Benny and I were best friends when we were about 14, 15. I sure would like to get in touch with him again. I’ve been trying to find him for years. My name is KEN LAKE and I lived at 442 East 117TH street. Please if you know him have him call me at 1-863-967-0147. I live in Florida now. Please have him call. OR he can email me at Thank You

Nancy March 23, 2014 - 8:00 pm

Hi Danny,
I did live on the first floor of 441. We have been trying to reach Joey without any luck. Manny & I used to get Christmas cards from him.
Marco has also been trying to find Joey. Sorry to say,Manny passed
away in 1994. His brother Benny also past away.

Take care.


MARIE GIORDANO March 21, 2017 - 9:24 pm


Lauren Phillips April 22, 2018 - 12:47 am

Hey Nancy!
Your neighborhood sounds awsome! Long shott but I am looking for any one who may have known Robert or Regina Debenedetto from that area? They would have grown up in the late 40′-50’s?

Gina Puma Lecca November 18, 2017 - 8:30 pm

What was the name of the pastry shop on 1st ave

Dan Buonagurio July 8, 2013 - 9:07 am

Hi All I too was born n raised in East Harlem.. I lived at 446 which was at 117 St. between 1st Ave an pleaseant Ave.
Used to spend my week ends playing soft ball in the little park by the High School for $
Also played alot of stoop ball for $ on the corner of 117st. I was a member of the Arrows are colors were black n red. Should bring back some memmeroies.
Now I’m living in burbs of NJ but only 7 miles for GW Bridge. Haven’t been back in quite awhile. Going to go back with a camera one of these days and see the changes

Dan # 99

frank budano August 30, 2013 - 9:48 am

hi maybe you know nickey beans .

Sal Pagliuca October 22, 2017 - 11:30 pm

Nicky Beans I believe lived across the street from us.I think he had two younger brothers Frank and Joe

frank budano February 19, 2018 - 1:27 pm

yes i’am his brother frankie

frank budano February 28, 2018 - 12:48 pm

would you be sally blue eyes

Sal Pagliuca February 6, 2022 - 1:33 am

No I’m Nick Pagliuca younger brother Sal .I played with a kid Sally whose father owned a candy store.We lived at 405_ East 117 st between first and pleasant.We moved Dec of 1962.Our cousins moved in after us Johnny,Freddy,and Michael Buffardi.We played with checker,Louie federico,Johnny petrara,rocky gerard,andpino

Kathy December 14, 2017 - 11:09 am

I also lived at 446 East 117th back in the 50s and 60s. Lived on first floor. My cousin Frank was also an Arrow. Don’t remember if my brother Neil was one. Always looked forward to the feast in September for Cosmo and Damian.

Daniel Buonagurio November 6, 2018 - 2:01 pm

Jose Do remember a team called the Arrows? I lived at 446 between 1st and Pleasant ave. The Arrows had red n black jackets my # was 99. I used to play soft ball in the HS field across from where Rao’s is..I also played a lot stoop ball on 117 st.

Michelle Cruz August 16, 2013 - 8:18 am

My family I also grew up there, My mom who’s name is Nancy as well and her brothers & sisters went to P.S 78 and my cousins and I went to P.S.112 & P.S. 206. My mother also grew up on 117 Pleasant building #429, it no longer exist its now a garden. Yeah I have the great memories growing up in El Barrio!

Philip Ocasio June 8, 2014 - 1:58 am

In what year did you live at 429 East 117th Street? We lived on the third Floor, Nancy, Angie, and Molly and their brother Kike lived on the other side. We moved out in 1978 a year or two before it was brought down. I also had an apartment on the first floor. We practiced karate on the Roof, wish I can post pictures of those classes. Hi Nancy… see you knew a few others that I did not know from our block…LOL.

Philo June 8, 2014 - 6:23 am

In what year(s) did your mother live at 429 East 117th Street?
We lived on the third Floor, and Nancy, Angie, and Molly and their brother Kike lived on the other side. We moved out in 1978 a year or two before it was brought down.
I also had an apartment on the first floor. We practiced karate on the Roof, wish I can post pictures of those classes. Hi Nancy… see you knew a few others that I did not know from our block…LOL.

jAMIE August 18, 2015 - 11:09 am

427 E 17th Street.
This was my dad’s (Mike) address; as he grew up. He was 1 of 5 brothers, you may know of them?? He is turning 82 and still kicking. He moved out of Harlem in the 50’s but his Mom lived there till the 70’s
Looking for familiar neighborhood people and photos!

jAMIE August 18, 2015 - 11:16 am

I think you your family was my family’s neighbors..We lived at 427 E 117th St. which is still ther but it now sits next to a park(this may have been the location of the building your mom came from. She may know Mike, Louie, Jr, Joey??

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:39 am

Nancy, I went to Mt Carmel and yes I went to a their Grammer school as I lived across the street. Yes, I also had a small garden in the park. Went to the pool very, very often. Played daily on Pleasant Ave with my friend Arnold Maggi, Peter Bruno, Andrew Proto, and a bunch of other from the neighbhood. I Left in 1961 and got drafted then moved to the Bronx. Gals that went to school with me, the Russos, CeeCee Straci [yes her brother is part owner of Raos] Mary Ghiraldi, Marie Scervino, Arnolds twin sister, and as you well know many others who all went to Mt Carmel Grammer school.
I had a great time living there and had the best time. It was a schooling of sorts. I also went to Cardinal Hayes as did most of the above guys. Graduated in 1956.
Anything familiar.Let me know. Vincent

Joe Proto March 21, 2018 - 4:14 pm

Hi Vinnie I’m Joe Proto Andrew Proto‘s brother we lived 424E 116st across the street from the DeRosa’s pastry shop I also wenttoMt. Carmel and graduated from Benjamin Franklin my kid brother Zuni also went to Mt.Carmel. And my best friend was and still is Joe Buccola (known each since the first grade)and we hung out in Mangini‘s candy store on 116th Street . Just like on happy days

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 4:40 pm

I did not know he had a younger brother…………..Andrew and I were great friends and competitors. We hung out on First Ave between 116th and 115th street. A place called Louies Ice Cream parlor. We had a nice group and were always together. I think your brother played football with me for the Mt Carmel football team around 1956-1961. We and a few others would be there daily.

ToniAnn Mamone February 6, 2018 - 9:17 am

HI Nancy my mom is Phyllis she grew up on 118 and 123 between 2nd and 3rd. Was wondering if you may know her.
I’m trying to help her connect with some old friends.

Andrew Altieri February 25, 2018 - 12:53 pm

Hi Nancy I lived at 351 Pleasant avenue during the 40 s it was a great place to live my grandfather owned a bakery on 117 street Altieri bakery the area wash home to many relatives from both sides of my family

james a. sullivan August 21, 2018 - 3:08 pm

Marvelous recollections. I taught a class in Easton, CT recently, When Harlem Was Italian. Wish I had your blurb to read to the group, all seniors. Something told me that Rao’s had a history, nothing like the ” ten tables you can’t get in” that it is today. How the current glitzi would blush to hear about the dogs sleeping outside.. It’s hard to read your comment and not think we have lost the true goodness, la dolce vitae.

Margaret April 4, 2019 - 9:50 pm


Jimmy Cunningham September 14, 2018 - 7:11 pm

I think i know you. Lol…

Micaela October 25, 2018 - 10:29 am

Jimmy I left a reply on an earlier post of yours asking if you knew Johnny Cuningham born in 1942. He went to Northeastern Junior College, served in Africa with the Peace Corp and a sargeant with air force served in Korea.
A good friend in the late 60’s, would like to catch up with him again.

Micaela Vining August 17, 2020 - 9:08 am

Would you contact me, please? I live in Costa Rica now. Email is best.

Micaela Vining August 17, 2020 - 3:34 pm

I want one brief conversation only. If you know who I am then you know where he is. He needs to hear something I have to say. It will help.

Micaela September 23, 2020 - 10:12 pm

I beg you. If you can, ask him to contact me. It is extremely
important. Please. We each need to know something or say
something that will be wonderful and healing and very profound. Don’t take this from him.

Robert December 19, 2019 - 4:22 pm

Glad i am not the only one that remembers the plot s for growing in t.j. Park.

Frank Concerto April 27, 2013 - 12:56 am

I lived at 502 E 119th St between Pleasant Avenue and the East River Drive(FDR) in late 50s early 60s. I loved it tere. Played a lot of stoopball and stickball and 2 hand touch football. Each Street from 117th to 120th had its own stoopball fields and we would play each other for “a dollar a man”. If you played on your turf you had home advantage, knowing how to play the Spalding bll off the various surfaces(buildings, etc.).
I went to PS78 and Junior High School James Otis which was in the Benjamin Franklin HS on 115 and Pleasant Ave. At PS78 I liked 2 girls both named MaryAnn.
I went to Holy Rosary Church on Sundays and came out and and coffee and buns at a place on Pleasant Ave near 118th St. At night we played kick the can , catch one catch all, 4 corners at corner of 119th and Pleasant Ave.
The Feast of Mt. Carmel was fantastic with the food and entertainment on the temporarily built stage on Pleasant near Ben Franklin HS. There are so many great memories

Tom Saltarelli June 2, 2013 - 9:19 pm

Frank Concerto..
My Name is Tom. I grew up in 512 East 119th.
maybe we knew each other or you might have known my older brother Joe ??

mary ann June 18, 2013 - 6:05 pm

I lived on Pleasant Avenue from 1950-1963, it was wonderful. We had the basement apt in one of the small brownstones and we had a yard, connected to two other yards, we were all friends. Had a wonderful group of friends that I went to OUr Lady of Mt. Carmel school with for 8 years, we are still all friends. The feast was the highlight of our year, when everyone came out and came back to celebrate. I would not exhcange that childhood for any other.

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 4:46 pm

I lived across the street from Mt Carmel. I went there from 1948-1952 and then went to Hayes with Arnold Maggi and a bunch of others from the area. Great fun. Arnold live about 150 yards from me here in Florida…..

Robert December 9, 2019 - 11:55 am

Parents married, I was baptized communion and conformation all mt. Carmel. What town in florida vin. I am in hudson.

Cathy Otello May 29, 2020 - 12:15 pm

My uncle was Zooch! My dad played for the team as well. They called him “Mooney.” I have a photo of the team.

Frank Concerto September 30, 2013 - 5:49 pm

Hi Tom
I remember your brother Joe and possibly you also. Did you also have a younger sister. I am 66 now and moved there from Brooklyn in ’57 or ’57. Went to PS78 Remember Danny Legs at end of blck who had an older sister. Alex was her boyfriend. I remember Lenny Sacatelli( not sure about spelling), Pasquale brothers in my building Vito and Patty who had an older sister whose name i can’t think of , Charlie Simmons went with my landlords daughter . Fred Nasta, Tony Aiella and sister Virginia, Forcerelli Brother, Joe Rizzo and brothers , Phil + John ,red-headed brothers in my building (502) on 2nd flr., the Madonnas from 118th st, Frank + Larry Salerno
There were the older guys that played ball and hung out at Nighthawk Club. Mike Lentini,Skutch, Gary (the mouth) last names escapes me, older Rizzo Brothers from 118th st.
Did you have the nickname stretch or was that a neighbor of yours? There are a lot of great memories. My mother was constantly moving and we moved to projects on 124th st + 2nd in ’61 or ’62 which drove me nuts. Frank

Pam Esposito January 24, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Hi Tommy I lived at 500 E 119 between Pleasant Ave and The Drive Hi Frank I knew all the guys you mentioned Danny Legs moved into 500 E 119 when the colucci’s moved out His sister was Joannie. She was with Mario. Younger brother Gary was my age. Great memories growing up in East Harlem Still visit there often

Gary lombino January 26, 2014 - 6:29 pm

Pam this Gary Danny’s brother hope you’re well thanks for all the nice things you said about him

frank budano April 13, 2015 - 8:47 am

I believe the older Rizzo was Anthony ,he gave my best fight and we became good friend his little brother was Alex.

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 4:54 pm

I wish you had a picture of your brother…the name does not ring a bell. As an aside I was best man at a guys wedding named Budano. Worked at the Post Office with him for about 4 years. First name I think was Tommy.

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 11:19 am

My name is Ronnie, I lived I in the townhouse on the first floor next to the club ( Nighthawk ) do not remember the number. I do remember going to the basement watching wrestling TV with the owners of the building. I also worked in the bakery making bread. Also worked at Patsy’s restaurant making the best pizza in the world. Pleasant Ave was very safe and fun. Your NEXT DOOR neighbors were NOT STRANGERS. I’m very proud to live my childhood on 119th and Pleasant Ave.
Yes I did go to PS78

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:45 am

I played foot ball with Mi
kie Lentini and we won 3 championships in the 5 years I played with the Mt Carmel football team. I was the half back on the team. I lived across the street from MT Carmel on 115th st. Great times and memories. My best friend who lives nearby today lived on Pleasant ave between 116 and 117 on the east side of the street. Read above for more details.
I had a great time there and remember it fondly. Remember going to the Cosmo theatre on 116 west of 3rd Ave.


frank budano February 19, 2018 - 1:39 pm

Vincent I believe you knew my brother nickey bean’s no,74

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 5:08 pm

Frank Budano….does he know me….I do not recognize the name you listed as Nicky Beans..

Frank Budano October 14, 2019 - 4:03 pm

Rizzos first name I believe was Anthony.

Robert December 9, 2019 - 11:58 am

Stick ball. Was not a 3 sewer guy, boo woo

Anonymous March 6, 2017 - 1:57 pm

My name is Bernadette Carrizzo (Prchal back then). My first boyfriend was Patsy Piccaro and I was best friends with Nancy Madonna. We both went to St Helena’s together. I have not heard their names mentioned for such a long time. I do not know is I remember you. Miss those days.

Tom Saltarelli July 11, 2017 - 10:23 pm

Frank you knew all the people in my world back then.
I didn’t have a sister but stretch and his sister were my cousins. We all lived in 512. I still own it !!
i miss those days. I wish I could go back for just 1 day.
So at point you and I have crossed paths.

Frank Budano October 14, 2019 - 3:55 pm

Rizzos first name I believe was Anthony.

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 12:10 am

My name is Ronnie I’m 67. I grew up on 119 th and pleasant ave next to the Nighthawks Club. I went to PS 78 and played stick ball between 119 & 118 pleasant ave. My best friend is Dino Ferrari that lived 118 and first ave. Another good friend of mine that do not know where he is, Sammy Di Benedetto lived across the street from me. I also worked at the bakery shop on pleasant ave..

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 11:51 am

Hi Tom. I knew your brother Joe but just to say hello as he was older than me( I was born in 1947) and Joe either hung with an older crowd or was a loner. I believe you
had a cousin nearby named Anthony with the nickname Stretch. That was a great time of mt life, plaing streetball, going to Scottie’s Candy store and Kushka’s around corner on Pleasant avenue and going down the block to the bakery to get rolls just out of the oven..Liked the luncheonette at 500 E. 119th St. also. Sorry my characters are printing so small. I have to figure out how to make fonts larger. I hope all is well with you and your family. I lived on top(4th flr) of 502 E. 119th St.

Bernadette Carrizzo (was Prchal) January 23, 2015 - 2:07 pm

Hi Frank, I lived at 447 east 117th street between pleasant and 1st ave. I was there from 1959 to 1966 I then moved to the Bronx. I was friends with Louise Ordieno and all the kids that hung out at Rosies candystor on 116th st. Still friends with all of them. Miss those days

John Peterson February 9, 2015 - 11:33 pm

Hey Bernadette-
My great grandmother was named Barbara Ann Prchal. Her brothers were William, Frank, and Charles. She also had two sisters Maria and Rose. There father Venzel immigrated to NY from Bohemia and was a baker. Any chance we are related. I would love to find out more info on Venzel and his wife Mary.

Joanna March 24, 2015 - 10:59 am

Hi Bernadette, That was my Grandmother’s Building. We lived on the top floor until we sold it in 1982. I still go to Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church. There is not place like East Harlem…

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:47 am

Did you know Arnold Maggi, Patrick Squilante who live near you on Pleasant Ave.I lived on 115st across the street from Mt Carmel.

Anonymous March 6, 2017 - 2:02 pm

My grandmothers name was Mary Serino and my Mom was Carmela. Such great memories there.

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 1:23 pm

Hi Bernadette. I remember yo and a few of the girls. You were “dating” (we were so young then) a John or Pat(can’t remember) and we hung out in front of 500 E 119th Street. .I did not have a girlfriend then but ,thankfully, I managed to catch up later on in 1965. I hope you and your family and friends are doing well.

Elizabeth Leyser July 16, 2020 - 5:22 pm

I lived at 502 East 119th Street…don’t remember you… Betty Neglia

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 1:31 pm

Hi Elizabeth. From 1957 to 1960 or 61 I lived with my mother Theresa and brother Anthony on the 4th Flr. I think the landlord ws Ben and had a daughter Sharon and perhaps
another(you?). Muntzie Muntzenberger was the super. The Pasquales with I think Nicole, Patrick and Vito lived there and the Venticinques with Philip and John. I hope all is well.

jimmy paolino June 18, 2013 - 10:22 pm

i lived at 362 ahun21st. i’m 68 years old and i went to Holy Rosary. i made my 1st communion and confirmation on saturday and sunday in 1952. the principal was mother francis. i had sister yolanda in 1st grade and i remember mrs kevin in 5th grade. my brother dec 2011 was tommy. my cousin mikey frogs longobardi lived in the same building. my cousin arthur lived at 263 pleasant ave on top of Rao’s we were forced to move in 1955 and i came back every week and hung out on ahun19 between 1st &pleasant at benny’s paddy bones and the cyo. later i hung around eddie grieco’s on 1st ave &ahun18 st, and at patsy’s. i come back for O’Giglio and the fathert/son stickball game a/la mikey lentini hope to see you then my heart&soul will 4ever be east harlem

Dan Buonagurio July 5, 2013 - 2:34 pm

Hi All I too was born n raised in East Harlem.. I lived at 446 which was at 117 St. between 1st Ave an pleaseant Ave.
Used to spend my week ends playing soft ball in the little park by the High School for $
Also played alot of stoop ball for $ on the corner of 117st. I was a member of the Arrows are colors were black n red. Should bring back some memmeroies.
Now I’m living in burbs of NJ but only 7 miles for GW Bridge. Haven’t been back in quite awhile. Going to go back with a camera one of these days and see the changes

Dan # 99

jAMIE August 18, 2015 - 11:28 am

Hi Dan,
My family lived at 427 E 117th St back in the the 30’s and 40’s. There were 5 boys and 1 sister growing up back then. Any recollection??


Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:51 am

I played football with Mikie Lentini for 5 years in 1956 to 1961. Boy could he throw a football. We won 3 championships out of 5 years. I also played prior to that for Cardinal Hayes. I remember Harlem very well. I remember that he married a very young gal.
I have entries above also. No use rehashing them.


Frank Budano October 14, 2019 - 4:00 pm

Vincent I believe my brother Nickey Beans played with u #74.

Danny V. Buonagurio July 14, 2013 - 8:14 pm

My name is Daniel V. Buonagurio I lived at 442 East 117 Street. We moved to L.I. in 1953. Myself, My brother Anthony and my sister Rose.I missed all my friends and family . I missed all the street games that we use to play in Harlem.On L.I. my nearest friend lived a mile away at that time and 7 miles by bus to school.I found a whole different world and it was very hard to adjust.After all these years ( around 50) I finally became in touch with my cousin Dan Buonagurio.Harlam was a good place to grow up. I missed all my friends. Harlem will always be in my heart.I often wonder what happened to all my old friends. If any of them see this, please contact me.

Nancy September 6, 2013 - 6:35 pm

Hi Danny V. Do you remember any of your old friends names? I may know them. Living at 442 I remember the superintendant, his name was Tony the Wig (white hair guy) and he would always be chasing the kids off the stoop.
The Marinelli family lived in the building. I lived in 441.
Take care.


Kenneth Lake January 29, 2014 - 5:22 pm

Danny Buonagurio, my God I have wondered about your family for years. My name is KEN LAKE. I lived in apartment 9 and you lived in apartment 12 your mother’s name was Tessie your father’s name was Tony I think. You had an aunt named Mary in apartment 13. Your grandmother lived in apartment 7 every one called her Momma Monona (everybody loved that woman and Papa to) and she would feed everybody in the building, she always had a big pot of tomato souse on for spaghetti and lots of meatballs (my God they were so good). When your family moved out to Long Island we moved into your apartment (12). My mom and I came out to your house in L.I. and stayed with you for I think it was 2 weeks. Your house was in the middle and your aunt Mary was on one side and I think her name was Rosy was on the other side. If I remember the story right your grandfather Papa Monona bought 3 archers and gave one to each of his daughters. Your mother (Tessie) and my mother (Ann) were good friends. See if you can remember this (try): One time you and I and I think it was Anthony, we went to a pet store, not sure but I think it was on 116th street and I stole a hamster. I put it in my coat pocket and we (I) sneaked it home and we ran up the stairs and into my apt. It just so happened that your mother and mine were in the kitchen talking, and your mother knew just knew something was up. So she followed us to the back bedroom and walked in just as I was taking it out of my pocket. Wanted to know just where we got it. I don’t remember what I said but she wasn’t buying any of it. Finally I said that I stole it and they (your mom and mine) made me take it back and give it back to the man in the pet shop. It was a lesson that I never forgot.
Danny I could go on and on with this but I’m not sure how much I can put on here. I’m now 72 and live in Florida. My home phone no. is 1-863-967-0147. PLEASE if you get this give me a call I would love to hear from you.

Nancy March 23, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Hi Kenny,

This is Nancy, I’m a little older than you but did you have a brother “Charlie”? If so, my sister Pat was a friend of his. They were both seven years older than me. I do remember Charloe. he was a nice guy. You were a little kid back then. I also remember your mom. My parents owned the laundry business across the street at 441. I will give you a call some time.
Take care and be well.


Charlie Lake May 11, 2014 - 5:03 pm

Hi Nancy. I don’t remember you but my brother does. I do remember Pat (I think we used to call her Patsy). I used to hang out with Lenny Camodeo, Phil Nuzzo, Al Belluccio, Joey Mongelli and a few others. I went to PS 78 , James Otis JHS and then Benjamin Franklin HS. That was back in the late 40’s early 50’s. I got married in ’57 and moved to the Bronx. I worked in NY at a publishing company for over 50 years. I had an older brother named Dave and he hung out with Johnny “Red” and Johnny “Shadow”. “Shadow” married a girl named Joanie (I think) she was short and hung out with Pat. I’m now 81 and live in Florida. I got involved with the local politics and I am the Vice Mayor of Lake Alfred and I serve on a number of County Committees. I recently got in touch with Lenny, who also lives in Florida, and we will be getting together next month. I haven’t seen him in over 40 years. Give me a shout back if any of these names ring a bell with you. You can check my facebook page and see if you recognize me. Hope to hear from you.

Nancy June 6, 2014 - 8:02 pm

Hi Charles,
Nice to hear from you. Yes, back then my sister was called “Patsy” Unfortunately, she passed in 1986.
I do recall a few of the names, Joey Mongelli and of course Lenny Commodeo.
When you see Lenny give him my regards (Ibelieve he will remember me).
It’s great that you will be getting together with him
Johnny Red was Lenny’s brother. I don’t recall a Johnny Shadow or Joanie.
My sister had a friend “Marie Cugini” who was blond and short and lived in
446. Now you have me thinking… you mean Johnny Staino and Josephine?
I live in Queens, NY. I checked your FB page and I would not have recognized you.
It’s been many many years. Many good memories from East Harlem.

Be well.


angelo leone February 24, 2015 - 2:38 pm

hi Nancy I think you are my godmother my mom was paula and dad is yanz hope all is well

Patricia Erwin September 14, 2018 - 9:02 pm

Hi Angelo, I don’t know if my Aunt Nancy saw your message but yes she is your Godmother. I am Patty her niece we lived around the corner from you my Name was Patty Cunningham.

FrankDeSimone July 12, 2017 - 10:05 am

My name is Frank DeSimone You bring back memories I lived in the Bronks ,but hung out at 117st with the Stainos Leonetties Di Murros and others hung out in the candy store you talk about I now live in Fl.

jAMIE August 18, 2015 - 11:41 am

Hi Dan,
427 E 117th St is the address where my family were raised. You may recall..Louie, Mike, Jr, Joey, Terry? My dad moved out of Harlem in the 50’s but his Mom remained there until they sold the building and moved (in the 70’s).
Any Recollection?

milli February 15, 2018 - 4:29 pm

Hi. Danny. Did you know the Bello family? My mom and her five sisters grew up on 116th and Pleasant Avenue. My mom shared some wonderful memories of the neighborhood. She passed away in 1998. Her name was Gloria.

Lenny Montilli July 30, 2013 - 1:27 pm

I grew up on Pleasant Ave. between 114th and 115th streets, and left the neighborhood in 1972. Rao’s was my neighbor before the place became famous. Unbelievable experience! We knew all the adults by their first names and they knew us as well. Harry the Greek was a fixture with his hotdog stand at the entrance to Jefferson Park; stickball on weekends, stoopball just about every night at the fire alarm box at Benjamin Franklin H.S. There were some serious gangs as well, and every now and then some real violence would occur, but by 1960 they had pretty much disappeared. You can still google the “RedWings” and read some interesting stuff.

frank budano August 30, 2013 - 9:58 am

Harry the Greek would try three times to hit your loose change in your pocket if he couldn’t he give you a free hotdog and what ever that drink was.

Philip Ocasio June 8, 2014 - 2:04 am

He called it… Peringa Water, or at least he started calling it that when we started to buy franks and that mysterious aid he used to sell. Circa… 1960…

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 11:53 am

Dirty dishwater frankfurters. They were great with the orange drink. Always on t
he corner of 114 and Pleasant.

Salvatore A Cavalino April 3, 2016 - 10:48 am

Lenny – were you in the Mt Carmels CYO ?

Lenny Montilli April 3, 2017 - 2:44 pm

Sally Cavalino???? Yes, I’m the same guy who was (I think) C.Y.O V.P. when you were President; I remember we spent that weekend at the Roosevelt Hotel in NYC for the C.Y.O. convention. If I remember right, Robert Riggio was with us too and a couple of others.
Would love to hear from you — I realize this is a very late reply but I don’t visit this website too often.
I live in Putnam County NY now and am working (yes, still working..) in Montvale NJ.

Linda Arcidiacono May 12, 2018 - 8:57 pm

Lenny. I lived at 297 Pleasant Avenue. When I was a little girl my doctor’s name was Montilli. Are you related?

I also live in Putnam C.

John Monet August 12, 2017 - 6:06 am

Does anyone remember a man and long time Resident name Tony ?.That lived on the Second floor on E 114th St or Pleasant . In the same Apartment he grew up in as a child . He took care of his Mother for years and till she passed in the 1990’s ,and he never left Harlem or the apartment he grew up in. He would only give his name as Tony and said he was born 1932. And that his father came from Naples in 1901. If he is still alive I would like to talk to him If anybody could be of help, I would appreciate it. Email

Joe Proto March 21, 2018 - 4:38 pm

Hi Lenny it’s Joe Proto just want to say hello

Anonymous May 17, 2019 - 3:03 pm

hello Joe – Theresa LaBella – younger sister to brothers Peter and Marco Jr. – cousin Louie LaBella

DashingDesignDiva August 19, 2013 - 11:07 am

I used to live in Wagner Houses, where Pleasant Ave sits behind and just south of. Wagner Houses themselves were awful, however I used to get just a little bit of a reprieve by strolling down to Pleasant Ave and then walking along the FDR walkway.

J.R. October 27, 2013 - 11:09 am

I lived at 426 E.118 st. Hung out at the Nighthawks club on pleasant ave on the corner of 119 st. I had a sister named Larraine who just passed 2yrs ago. We just finished a movie about pleasant ave, called “Pleasant Days” you can see a trailer on U Tube, Type in “Pleasant Days”. The real movie runs about 1:30 minutes. We are trying to get it on HBO or PBS. East Harlem Forever

Lucille Grassi November 6, 2014 - 7:25 pm

i lived at 213 e 118th st We owned the building My gramps Was Angelo Ambrosia. My dad was John Grassi. I went ps 78 then the JHS on 119th st. Nothing like growing up in Harlem. I hung out in the Ice Cream parlor on 118th St. and third Ave. My name is Lucille Grassi.

Anonymous October 3, 2018 - 2:08 pm

Hi Lucille I also went to Georges ice cream parlor my name is John Sapone had a brother Frank he had friends on 118st they had a little band one guys name was Victor they were older than me two Girls I knew was Elisabeth & sorry cant remember I had cousins in your block but much older than me a
I am 74 hope all is well with you & family I went to the Cosmo movie theater & Jefferson swim pool I grew up on 119st and 3rd

frank budano October 29, 2013 - 9:30 am

I had a lot of good friends that I grew up with from 120 to114 between first & pleasant went to ps78,love playing hard ball against the kids from 117 street between first and plseant,We had a good team joe savio,vinny buff,george dirt bomb,rickey jimmy dots our catcher,as kids playing football against the kids from 109 street,in 114 first ave park i still remember the fights and fun we had.I did something crazy one day as a kid and the girls gave me the nickname Frankie nuthouse and that was that, hanging out at night by roses candy store,eating at john delightfuls after week ends of fun.Who could forget my good friends I played with from mt carmel football teams,so many great games, playoffs and championship games ,it made me love and never forget east harlem & my childhood and old friends.Now 60 and looking back great times.

Nick September 28, 2014 - 6:47 pm

Dear Frank, I don’t remember your name and I’m sure you don’t remember mine. I’m 59 and I was one of the boys from 117. My name is Nick but my nickname was “Squeegie” after my fathers name “Weegee”. I believe I still have a baseball glove with those names still on it. Jimmy Dots, Vinny Buff, and George Dirt Bomb was one of my best friends down there. I have to find this glove of mind, I believe your name is on that too Frankie Nut House. OMG! Great time huh?

Nancy December 15, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Hey Nick, this is Nancy, I lived in 441 East 117th St. was good friends with your Mom, Barbara. We hung out in your apartment. Remember, Ann Panza & Rochelle. Rosie lived next door to you guys. How is your sister Maria? You were about 10/12 years of age at the time. I would visit u guys on Carpenter Ave. Would love to hear from you. Take care. Nancy

frank budano April 1, 2015 - 7:44 am

hi nickey boy I knew your father and your grand father in lived in your grandfathers building 117 I am joeys older brother Frankie you were a skinny little kid

frank budano February 19, 2018 - 2:01 pm

Nickey boy I was looking at some old pictures and I found a picture of you and my brother joey with my sister you may be about 14 or 15 years old e mail me love to show it to you,or 2019880696

Richard Harris September 28, 2015 - 7:33 am

I remember all to well the good old days, my cousin was George dirt bomb, I am Ricky.
my uncle George and an Jean Patriano worked in the Delightfuls, my grand mother lived across the street.
Anna and John Mercaldi.

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 5:20 pm

I played for Mt Carmel from 1956 to 19061 with Mikey Lentini. We won three championships and played the Jets before they became the jets. Refresh my memory of who you are and do I know you. It could be that we close friends but the name does not ring a bell…..

M January 3, 2014 - 7:05 pm

Did anyone know the Genualdo family from 417 E 119th?

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 1:35 am

I used to work in that bakery making Italian pagnotte. also worked for Pattys Restaurant on 1st Ave I also lived 119th st next to the club of the Nighthawks. PS78 was the school I went to. Played stick ball right on 119 & 118 and pleasant ave.Good old days.if you know any of these guys please call me.k
Dino Ferrari
Ronnie Arena
Sammy Di Benedetto
Sergio Arena
Tulip Di Marco
My phone is 831-6853097

Gina Puma Lecca November 18, 2017 - 8:34 pm

What was the name of the bakery

Judy Robles Green July 8, 2018 - 12:45 am

Mary Genualdo was my Godmother. Her sister Angie was my sister, Edna ‘s godmother ! Mary died in 2005, at the age of 77, and and she died about 2006. My name is Judy Robles Green. Mary and Angie were very active in holy Rosary Church and that is where my mother met them and requested that they be my and my sisters godparents ! Best time ever in that neighborhood !

Edna Robles July 18, 2018 - 8:47 pm

I am Edna Robles, I am 69, Angie was my godmother I lived at 520 E 230 St. she passed away her sister as well.

Anonymous December 8, 2018 - 10:36 pm

My Aunt Frances was very good friends with Angie as my Mother Mildred, Angie pierced my ears as a child, I remember her Mother also get Sister Mary and Teressa.

lyons January 30, 2014 - 1:25 pm

Did any one live near or in 519 east 117th street and remembers the grocery store that was first Ralphs and then became Petes.

Philip Ocasio June 8, 2014 - 1:51 am


I lived at 519 East 117th Street, 2nd floor, Mrs Green lived next door and would beg me to play the saxophone in the evening. She was such a sweet lady. The other people next door, never saw them or knew who they were, would hear the door slam, but never saw them…LOL. That was the best apartment I had as I used to work at Wash Burn Wire for a few years making some good money as a class ten machinist. But, really learned to play my sax there. I was very angry when I had seen the building had been demolished. Many of those buildings dated back to the civil war, as you can see the gas pipes in the long corridor before coming into the kitchen, and had those hand chains to pull on in the bathroom, to make the toilet flush… There was a beautiful Jamaican girl on the 5th floor, forgot her name, used to hang with her sometimes. Ah, the wonder years of living in East Harlem, none can compare. I also lived at 429 East 177th street when we moved there in summer of 1960, where I met Angie from next door.

Philip Ocasio June 8, 2014 - 1:56 am

As far as the Grocery Store, we used to buy our lunch there… Roast Beef, Frank Hero, Meatball…mmmm. Remember an old man with the dogs who lived next door to Pete’s. I asked him what was his dogs name, and he’d say… Dog…

Philo June 8, 2014 - 6:19 am

I had a posted a reply here, and it posted, then gone???
I lived at 519 East 117th street from 1967-1971. I played sax there and one one ever gave me a problem. Mrs Green next door used to ask me to play at night, she couldn’t sleep much. How I miss that little pad of mine and was very angry when these post Civil War houses were brought down… ;((

Philo June 8, 2014 - 6:37 am

I meant to say that no one ever complained of my playing. I studied music at Ben. Franklin and even played in the Senior Band and Talent shows. As far as Pete’s, I remember it. I used to buy my lunch when I worked for Wash Burn as a class 10 machinist with Cosmo and the crew. How I miss those days, but they live in my heart…

Carmen (Rodriguez) December 18, 2018 - 7:44 pm

I lived in that same building. Ground floor. Do you remember Mrs. Petrie…..the “super” ? She was mean…lol. Never wanted us to hangout on the stoop.

Suzanne March 15, 2014 - 10:09 am

Does anyone know of the Marrazzo’s or D’anna’s in this neighborhood? The Marrazzo’s owned an apartment building maybe on 115th or 116th from around 1885-1930’s and Paul and Mary D’anna lived on 118th St and owned a butcher shop about 1902. Rose Marrazzo was very kind and helped many in the neighborhood. They went to Our Lady of Mt Carmel. Tobia, Tony, Harry, Margie, Nellie, Julia, and little Elena, Rose, Michael, Amedeus and Louise were some of the family names. Tony was a pharmacist in the neighborhood who family legend has it that he used to have to tend to injured gangsters.

Ralph Mancuso May 4, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Hello, I went to Benjamin Franklin H.S. , graduated 1952 played for the Franklin H.S. baseball we were the N.Y. City champions that year I Played 2nd base Would like to knopw if anyone knows where Iliie Annunizata lives my team-mate TY 561 498 3112

Tonys July 26, 2014 - 4:22 pm

Hello does anyone remember the Chiocchi family from 118 st Antoinette Dominic Ralph torti Louise kitty Louis Celia

Tony July 26, 2014 - 4:34 pm

Hello does anyone remember the Chiocchi family Antoinette Dominic Ralph Celia Louise torti kitty Louis

Dester May 1, 2016 - 8:23 pm

Antoinette was my mother. How do you know the Chiocchi family? Did you live on 118sth street

Joyce July 31, 2014 - 11:06 am

My mother’s family belonged to a Hungarian Presbyterian Church on or near Pleasant Avenue. Where exactly was it? What is in it s place now? Thank you.

Maria September 3, 2014 - 4:22 pm

Hello out there…this is Chippy, 74 years old) from 351 Pleasant Ave. next door to Rafie’s Bakery(bread store) and across from Scotties candy-store and Cushka’s bakery(remember the coconut buns)? Do you remember taking the bus to 86th st. to the Automat….and movies? Holy Rosary was my church and I do remember father Donally and of course Father Ricotta?(he scared us kids in that dark confession booth).
PS 78 was my school and then PS 159, then Central Comm H.S. ***And, 3feet is what we called the pool 114th st. Was great how we all got along with each other, all mixed ethnic groups! Hey, remember renting a bike from Frankie Buick for an hour. He was my first ‘installment’ payment company(I started my first job and bought presents from his store and paid ‘on-time-payments’ TRUST! Well, good bye…and if anyone knows where Chicky Vincent Coniglio is, please advise.LOL

jimmy paolino September 5, 2014 - 11:23 pm

Hi Maria I’m 69 years old. I went to Holy Rosary school & church. I remember Father Ricotta, Father Donnelly, Father Di Falco, and Father Cracco, also Monsignor Gaetano Archeese. Father Ricotta was very nice and soft spoken, Father Di Falco did a lot with us kids, and father Cracco was mean and should slap your face .I was an altar boy and remember Benny’s candy store across from the CYO, and Paddy Bones down the block, with the pool table in the back. Great memories and great neighborhood. I was at the Giglio in August, and plan to be at the stickball game on Sunday 9/7 on Pleasant Ave. Sadly we put another name on the back of the T shirt this year Mikey Lentini’s brother Tommy Moe passed away this year RIP MOE.

matty the barber November 13, 2015 - 2:41 am

Hi everyone,I lived at 447 E119st. I remember everything and everone on Pleasant ave.and went to Holy Roseary School,my father had the barber shop on Pleasant ave and 120th,Iam 71,they called me Matty the barber.

Antonio June 29, 2017 - 10:20 pm

I remember the barber shop. It was between PS 78 n 120 St. I don’t remember you. But I remember Cheech who had a little club next to your shop. He was a old gangster. Also there was corner eatery. I recall their was a fire right above the shop where 3 kids died. I knew the family.

Tom Saltarelli July 11, 2017 - 10:29 pm

Hello matty.
My name is Tom Saltarelli.
I lived at 512 119th.
I remember your dads barber shop.
I’m trying to collect photos of Pleasant Ave.
If you have any you care to share to contact me.

Linda Chandler May 4, 2016 - 7:44 pm

Hi Jimmy, I’n also 69 and went to Holy Rosary School and Church. When I was there, Fr. Cantatore was the pastor. There was also Fr. Bob (Mazziotta), Fr. Cracco, and another priest with reddish hair. I lived at 441 E. 119th directly across from the church. Benny’s was o.k. but I hung out at Patty Bones candy store as did my cousin, Inez Franciosa. I had a crush on Mikey Lentini. He had such beautiful eyes. Moved out of the old neighborhood when I was 15, to the Bronx. Missed Harlem where there was always something to do.

Angela Bella October 31, 2021 - 12:36 pm

Hi Linda,
Please visit my history website about East Harlem, and follow my website please!

Thanks so much!

Angela Bella October 31, 2021 - 12:40 pm

I’m family friends with Mikey Lentini! What a small world!
He’s doing well, and says hello and thanks for your kind
words and for remembering him!
Email me at:
Would love to chat about your memories of the old neighborhood!

carolyn purcell?Botta October 10, 2017 - 8:27 am

Chippy are you a Barrenello,your mother was Agnes,?

Marie Parahus October 17, 2020 - 10:33 am

It’s cousin Marie, I happen to be reading the comments from East Harlem and I see your name. Anyway who is chippy? There were four kids, Theresa, Butchy, Danny and Diane Baranello. I think the boys are in the Bronx and the girls are on Long Isand. Plenty of memories.

Frances May 23, 2020 - 2:06 pm


Maria September 6, 2014 - 9:07 pm

Hi glad someone remembers my area of Pleasant Avenue. Sad hearing about Mikey’s brother. Do you ever run into Nicky Pignatelli at the games on the avenue; if you do tell him Chippy said hello from Florida. Do you still live in NY, LI ? I’m in Fl over 29 years (TOO DARN HOT) been out of Harlem since 1961. Is Mikey still with us…I know his wife Florinda passed on years ago (she was the daughter of Raffie & Ida-the bread store. You may not know that because of our age difference, you being the ‘kid’ ha ha. Thanks for answering. Wishing you well, Chip

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:02 pm

I played football with M. Lentini for 5 years. Read above. I remember he married a very young gal but heard she died very young. Do you know Arnold Maggi lived in a brownstone on Pleasant Ave and 116 and 17 st. He and I live within a block of ea other here in Florida. read some of the comments above

Anthony DeLillis September 7, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Lived there in the late 40’s 50′ & 60’s
Great times ect…Harlem house Cosmo movies …

Lucille Grassi November 6, 2014 - 7:29 pm

lol I had my first kiss in the cosmo he was cute too

c. curzio January 16, 2015 - 9:07 pm


My family lived at 430 East 115 st, up until 60’s then moveddowntown to where Rupert’s brewery was about 95 and 2nd ave. they made KNICKERBOCKER Beer , recall it ? Patsy’s pizzeria was on 1st avenue, old lady used t sit out front most of the day. She I think was wife of owner who had died. Also on 1st ave they haD good Italian ices too, one place was Rex I think. towards about early 60’s Pleasant ave. began to go downhill, mostly from drugs. I lost someone in my family from heroin back then. Recall Deliteful restaurant ? The IdeAL pet shop about 110 st ?

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 1:48 am

My name is Ronnie. I lived on 119th st and pleasant ave next to club of the Nightwhaks. I used to work at Patsy’s cutting clams and making pizza. Fantastic days of a lot joy. Playing stick ball 119th and pleasant was a LOT OF FUN.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW. 831/ j685-3097

vin ponzo January 17, 2019 - 5:40 pm

I lived in 430 E. 115st…on the 4th floor…..from 1937 until about 1960. I got drafted in 1961 and move to the Bronx. beneath me on the 4 floor was a gal named JoJo Zarbra….one of the families in the mid 1940 had the first TV in the area. They would let us watch TV in their home. Also in the building on the 5 floor was a family I was friendly with but the last name escapes me…Theresa, Yolanda and a boy or two…I remember now their last name was Tarantino. Good to meet you….Vincent.

Anonymous February 7, 2019 - 6:19 pm

do you remember me C. “Curzio I lived on the fourth floor [at 430 E. 115] up to 1961 and then I got drafted. Is that your married name and what floor did you live on……

Vin Ponz March 20, 2019 - 4:24 pm

I lived in the same building and also on the fourth floor and we left around 1960. I am now 81, March 2019, but I do not remember you. [430 E. 115st fourth floor]. I too got drafted in 1961-1963 and was stationed in Augsburg Germany. Beautiful country by the way…. I have a funny feeling we are getting mixed up. help….Vincent Ponzo.

Rosa January 19, 2015 - 10:22 am

I grew up in the Wagner projects – 505 E. 120th Street. I went to PS 78 then to JHS 45 and then to Benjamin Franklin HS. We loved Scottie’s Candy store and Patsy’s Pizza. We also went to George’s candy store and to the bodega owned by Dennis. Those are some of my best memories – growing up in Harlem. Will always consider it my home.

Vicky November 15, 2015 - 3:31 pm

Hi Rosa, I also grew up at 505 E. 120th first floor. I never knew they were the Wagner projects, they were always just the”projects” to me. I grew up there in the early 60’s, went to PS 78 but moved before Junior High.Holy Rosary was my church. I remember George’s candy store and if that was a bodega on the corner of Pleasant and 120th then I remember that too because my mom used to give me money for cheese doodles and dipsy dooodles to go there and drop off a piece of paper with some #’s on it. :)…What did I know, I was a kid. My childhood memories are all good, I remember Patsy’s Pizza and the 5&10 my dad would take me to for a banana split, double dutch, hopscotch, iceskating at Central Park, the Italian Festivals. My brothers Mike and Joe playing stickball and in the summer turning on the fire hydrant and squirting the water out with a can. Towards the late 60’s I think is when the drugs started to come in and we moved in 1970.

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 11:39 am

Hi Vicky, I lived at 505 from 56 -76, on the 16 floor. i used to call it the penthouse. I remember everything you quote and more. I am 67 now, also went to 78 n 45. would like to here more from you. I knew almost everyone in that building and neighborhood. You can find me on FB by Antonio Adorno.

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 11:30 am

Hi Rosa. I also lived at 505 from 56 – 76.on the 16 floor. i also attended 78,class of 65 then onto 45,class of 65. I have younger sis named mary that also attended 78 n 45. We had to have known each other or the same friends. I had a nickname of Ricky Star. I knew a Rosa that lived on the 3rd floor, she had 2 bros n 2 sis, Pablo,Leo,Beiky n Mecedes,who was deaf. reply if you get this message or you can find me on facebook by Antonio Adorno.

Derrick Yard March 21, 2019 - 9:37 pm

Hello Tony my name Is Derrick Yard I also live at
,505 East 120 street Apt. 16D. You should know
My family my dad had one arm. I also attended
P.S.78 and J.H.S.45 . After #45 I attended
Samuel Gompers V.T.H.S. in the Bronx. After that
I Enlisted into the United States Marine Corps.From
1976-1988 Rank Sgt.; Then I work for Military SEALIFT COMMAND ( Govt Service Merchant Seaman) for 24 yrs as a Chief Electrician. Anyway
I remember everyone on our floor back in the Day.
Mrs.Libby and family ; Mrs.Norma and Family. Your
Family Too. And how is your sister doing? Currently
I’m living at Norfolk,VA. Since 1988. Retired!! . Here is my number 1-757-738-3734.

Judy Robles Green July 8, 2018 - 12:27 am

Rosa, my name is Judy I lived 520 E. 120th St. which was a dead-end street by the river. I didn’t know they were called the Wagner projects, I just called them the projects . I moved away from there in 1962 to the Westside 109th St. . I hung out with Ena, Manny, Nini, the Rosarios, great time. I went to holy rosary, PS 78, Scottys candy store , Patsys pizza , Dennis bodega was right on the corner of 120 and Pleasant! Do you remember the half moon that came around and gave rides for $.10, The good humor man that came around with ice cream every night on his bicycle, the truck filled with watermelons that would come down 120th St. selling watermelons for $.50, I could go on and on so many good memories !!!! I am Judy Robles Green on Facebook !

Jaime Robles July 18, 2018 - 10:58 pm

I used to live there too. My name is Jimmy and I’m the guy who used to squirt everybody at the Johns pump!

ANTONIO ADORNO July 28, 2018 - 12:35 pm

Hello Judy Robles, You sent me a FB messenger, somehow it got deleted. I lived across the street at 505. You mention the Rosario Family. Manny, Nini and their Sis Nina, moved to California back in the 70’s. I knew them well. you may recall a girl by the name of Vivian, had a bro name Johnnie, he was like Albino. they lived in the same building 90 Paladino. Vivian lives in the poconos. I used to run into her at Mt Airy Casino on Latin Night. I have contact numbers for all above. In your FB message to me. You mention Mecedes. she was deaf. That family’s name was the Pijuans. She had a 2 bros, Paul,Leo n 2 sis Becky n Rosa. Sadly Mecedes and Belky both passed. I knew a lot of people in that neighborhood.

Manuel ROSARIO August 24, 2018 - 12:26 pm

Thanks Ricky for the update. I remember our Troup 660, what a bunch of guys. Camping, marching in all the Puerto Rican Day parades, working at the World’s Fair. What a life….

Bobby Garofalo January 20, 2015 - 4:57 pm

My name is Bob Garofalo and I lived at 454 E. 119 st. next to the Night Hawks Club. My father’s name was Frank and my mothers name was Mille. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Jesse, Tommy, Nikkie and Dory. We all went to Holy Rosary School. I remember Scotties, Paddy Bones and Patsy’s pizza. We moved to New Jersey in 1969. My aunts and uncles lived at 420 E. 119 st. Their names were Angie, Mary, Josie,Mike and Tony (Doc) . I’m 57 and hung around the Night Hawks and on Pleasant Ave. I remember helping a man named “Jerry Gags” clean and wax his ’64 Impala SS. Then he would give me a high speed ride. I loved it. I think I love cars today because of him. Growing up there and going to Holy Rosary shaped my life in a positive way.

Ronnie July 30, 2015 - 2:34 am

Hi guys,
I lived next to the Nightwhaks club corner of 119th and pleasant. Worked for Patsy’s pizza on first ave for many years. Worked at the bakery next to the candy store on pleasant ave. played stick ball on 119 st. Jefferson park was a nice walk. BEST DAYS OF MY LIE,! My name is Ronnie. Any info feel free to call me 831-6853097

Anthony Sullivan February 13, 2015 - 5:54 pm

I lived 401 e 116 st right on top of my Uncles Johnny’s restaurant delightfull’s. I was better known as nature boy was my nick name. I miss the old neighborhood. My godfather was Fat Tony.

frank budano April 13, 2015 - 9:52 am

was that fat tony from the club near rose candy store or 106 street fat tony.

Richard Harris September 26, 2015 - 8:47 am

My uncle George and ant Jean Patrino worked their for years My grandmother lived across the street

angelo leone February 24, 2015 - 2:53 pm

hi nancy this is angelo paula and yanzi son

Nancy Bayron March 7, 2015 - 8:37 pm

Hi Angelo, Yes, your are my godson. Hope all is well with you and your family. Nice to hear from you.

Annette Pace March 21, 2015 - 9:28 pm

Hi I lived 505 117st went to ps78 &159 &mabledean bacon got married 1957 remember Frank Buick Lentenibrothers Paula &Yanz my Granda father sold ice betwen 117&`118st hot dog place barber shop we had a team bobby sox lots of fun growing up on pleasent ave patsey fruit stand if anyone remembers me get intouch god bless march 21 2015

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:08 pm

Were you on the girls team called a name for Sinatra but spelled backwards ARTANIS. My friends sister was on the team. I lived on 115st across from Mt Carmel.

Annette Pace March 21, 2015 - 10:29 pm

Hi I remember Patyespizza Delighful 116 st kikies restaurant 117 st pleasant ave all the clubes harlam house had dances pool 114st rayors scully walton ambulance 116st some are gone now any one remember

frank budano April 2, 2015 - 11:19 am

my name is Frank Budano. I was born and raised over the Char-ko-lette. My older brother was Nicky Beans from 116 near Jonny Delightfuls. Also have many good memories. I will be 62 yrs old. Probably know same people as you do.

Lenny Montilli April 8, 2015 - 10:29 am

I remember Nicky Beans (although there were a couple of guys we called Nicky Beans); Where does he live now? Haven’t seen him in many years and I hope he’s well. Each year around July 16 I decide not to go down to the old neigghborhood anynore but when the day comes, something still pulls me there, although I see fewer and fewer people that I know.

frank budano April 13, 2015 - 9:22 am

nickey beans played football for ponzo on the lady of carmel as I did .

Bob December 29, 2015 - 10:49 pm

I was from Inwood and wandered on to this site. Do you recall the football games with the Inwood Colts? That was some rivalry with you guys….

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:14 pm

There were two Ponzos playing on the team. I played for Mt. Carmel for 5 years 1956-1961. Zooch was the coach. We did well in the leagues. As for the other Ponzo he did not play for the full 5 years I played. I played for Cardinal Hayes 1954-1956. Mikey Lentini was the quarter back was the quarterback.


Ralph Pussilano June 23, 2015 - 1:38 pm

Lenny is this the Nicky beans from 114 st

frank budano July 2, 2015 - 3:53 pm

no 116 street there was a club near john delightfuls and the barber.

Lenny Montilli April 3, 2017 - 2:50 pm

I remember Nicky Beans from 114th Street. A real good guy and I think a couple of years older than me. He was a great stickball player —- I lived on Pleasant Avenue a few doors down from Raos so I used to see the older guys playing on the avenue all the time.

John September 16, 2015 - 3:02 pm

My Pop came for 116 pre WWII his family owner a grocery store and them a candy store on either Pleasant Ave or 116…not sure. Often spoke of a Nicky Beans.Pop name was Philly (Rags) had a brother Joe two sisters Katie and Mildred (Chicky). His Cousins were the Cappiello, Ciano (Charlie Chan) and Medici also from 116th.

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:04 pm

If you are talking about John Medici who lived on 114st prior to 1961. We got drafted together in ’61. I have a couple of comments above you might find interesting.


frank budano February 19, 2018 - 2:16 pm

nickey bean’s no,74 and play for ponzo in the 60’s

frank budano July 2, 2015 - 4:03 pm

maybe you remember rosie’s candy store and some of us good looking guys that hung out there.

carmine curzio August 22, 2015 - 12:35 pm


My family comes from east 115 st , 430 to be exact, This is right off pleasant Avenue. The neighborhood actually was safe, as any robber took their life in their hands if they tried something.

One problem as I recal was heroin, many of the Italian young men got hooked on this and ruined their lifes. It was known that much of the junk for NYC a in order to survive. and surronding area came off this place.
Other wise most of the people who lived here worked hard for a living, bricklayers, plasters, women like my mom worked in sweat shops back then. Vito Marcantonio was a good congressman and worked for his people.

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:16 pm

I lived at 430 E. 115st until 1961. I got drafted. I lived on the fourth floor over the pool hall. I have some other stories above. No use rehashing them. I should know you but don’t remember the name.

Chris Saraceno September 6, 2015 - 4:32 pm

I may be pushing my luck here, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. I had family at the turn of the 20th century living in this area. First at 442 E. 115th St. in 1900, then 448 E. 115th St. in 1905, then 447 E. 116th St. in 1915. The last address in that area I have is for my great-great grandfather at 296 Pleasant Ave. at the date of his death after “a fall from a 2nd story with a skull fracture”. His name was Francesco Saraceno who married Antonia/Antonietta Tamburro (both from Italy, believed to be from Calabria) who had Biaggio, Angelina, Lucia/Lucy, Carmela, Domenico/Dominick, Maria, Rosina/Rose and Joseph. While I don’t know where Francesco and Antonietta were married, I do know they had close ties with Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as some of their children were baptized there.

I understand this may be a long shot, but I have nothing to lose.

Thanks for any help in advance.

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:19 pm

I lived at 430 E. 115 st until 1961. read posts above.


Salvatore A Cavalino November 6, 2015 - 2:41 am

I lived on 116th Street ( between 1st and 2nd Ave. I attended Our Lady of Mt Carmel grammar school – graduating in 1959. Reading these stories brought back so many memories. Delightful coffee, the Harlem house, Patsy’s pizza on 1st Ave, the Colonial Bar, Pigeon Coops on the roof, playing ball in Jefferson Park, stick ball, stoop ball, Johnny on the pony and occasionally watching the police grappling jumpers out of the east river, Nick the greek – (in my opinion the best dog’s around especially with the HOT onions that you could have with it and that crazy drink he served. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

My great uncle was Frank Rosette the district leader and my grandfather was Anthony Russo – he owned a pizza restaurant on 2nd Ave between 116 and 117 street. We never identified a street as 116th – but “a-hun-sixteen”.

The area was one where you could not turn a corner with out banging into a relative.

One day I took my girlfriend (Angela) into Central Park on 86th and 5th. When we came home and after dropping Angela back home I walked into my grandfathers store and was immediately asked what I was doing with Angela in Central Park.

Anyhow – thanks for the memories.

Vincent Ponz January 18, 2016 - 12:22 pm

I played football with Frank Rossetti [with an I not an E] later a judge in Garden City, LI.I have a picture of him playing football in the late 1950s. Nice fellow died about 10 years ago.


Lenny Montilli April 3, 2017 - 2:56 pm

Sal — Good mmeories, especially the ones about the Greek guy who sold the hot dogs outside of the park; my mother would tell me never to drink that stuff he made —– When I asked her why, she said, “He’s at the park all day —- where do you think he pees when he has to go???”

I also remember Frank Rossetti, a good man respected by everyone. I even vaguely remember Vito Marcantonio although I was only seven when he died.

Where are you living these days?

Tony Ortiz November 9, 2015 - 2:59 pm

I attended P.S 78 and remember some of my classmates Peter Koo, Alexis Solomon, Linda Capriccio, Patty can’t recall last name, Andy Petrillo (Sister Andrea), Marie Greco, Wallace Dixon, Hayward Shands, Sal Novelino and Ralph Messina. I have memories of being a school safety guard, they gave us those white plastic belts and badges, there was a kid named Jose I believe, who was the “boss” but he later transferred out, I remember the field day competitions on Randall’s Island, and all of the great teachers, Ms. Deleo, Ms Capano, Mrs Levy(Loved that lady), Mrs Capa, Mrs Moore, Mrs Alexander (I loved that lady) …Hard times because we were poor, but, also were..Great times

George Di Leo February 5, 2016 - 2:32 am

Hi Tony, my name is George Di Leo. When did you attend PS78, my sister Roma Di Leo was a teacher there. We lived on 1st Avenue between 123rd and 122nd. We owned a great deli on first avenue near the corner of 123rd St next the an ESSO gas station, before we were kicked out by the projects. We previously lived on 123rd St. between 1st Ave and Pleasant Ave. I know my sister taught at 78 even after we were forced to move out of E. Harlem in 1953. Do you know of the Crocco’s who lived on 119th St between 1st and 2nd. Their son went to West Point and his great friends were James Luisi, NBA and Hollywood actor, and my brother. They were there till after the projects arrived. Mayor O’Dwyer and Moses hated East Harlimites and had vowed to break it up. They succeeded with a good part of E. Harlem with the projects. They vowed to get rid of that areas good guys. E. Harlem was the creme de la creme, even with the violence, in my time. I’m 83……George

Tony Ortiz April 12, 2017 - 12:40 pm

Hello George,

My teacher Ms. Deleo had a twin sister who was also a teacher and taught at P.S. 80 on East 120 Street. I think my teachers first name was Maria. She was a great lady with a BIG heart. One of my classmate’s mother passed away and she opened her heart and home to him, and later that year she had the entire class up to her home in Yonkers to spend sometime with my classmate…..I will always remember her for acts of kindness like that. LOL….one thing…if you didn’t wear your tie to school she had a closet full of her dad’s old ties and made you wear one of those horrible ties for the entire day…everyone would rib you for the entire day…believe me you only forgot ONCE to wear your tie to school.

Madeline Peduto October 5, 2018 - 6:50 am

Miss DiLeo was my 6th grade teacher around 1958-59. I grew up in East Harlem at 451 East 114 st. Thanks for the memory.

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 11:47 am

Hi George. Your Sister was my 6th grade teacher, at PS78, 61-62.. I hope she is still around. give my regards from a student of her class of 62. Antonio Adorno

ANTONIO ORTIZ December 19, 2018 - 3:24 pm

I think you sister was indeed my teacher, if she had a twin. I LOVED her. Tough but fair, I learned so much from her, and not just school work, but also about life. God bless her !

Linda Chandler May 4, 2016 - 7:47 pm

Good times back in the 50s in E Harlem

David Paul moccio March 31, 2018 - 5:52 pm

My family lived there 447 e 118 pleasent Grandfathers brother owned a candy store on pleasent ave around e 119 st or e 121 st back in your days Charlie’s candy store gramps cousin father started a place to eat on e 114 and pleasent ave Joey rao ran the numbers in that area

John March 9, 2017 - 4:29 pm

I lived at 446 E 122 st. great block until they torn it down. My brother
own a tailor shop on the corner of 116 st and pleasant ave his name was Dominick
any body remember him…

MARIE GIORDANO March 21, 2017 - 9:57 pm


Debbie Rizzo March 6, 2021 - 12:03 am

Hi Marie
It’s Debbie you lived on 114 st in my sis Marie building she lived on the ground floor and you live on the 3 rd I think Fanny was the super there and your dad moved my family if u want contact me Dfinaldi
miss everyone from Harlem I moved when I was 20 now I’m 61 so I’m out a long time

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 11:50 am

I remember the place it was also a dry cleaners right on the corner by the Bus Stop.

Linda March 28, 2017 - 9:43 pm

I know this is a shot in the dark, but does anyone recognize the name Simmons or Zambrano? I lived at 418 E 119 Street from 1949 to around 1956. I was baptized in Holy Rosary Church and went to PS 78. I have great memories of my Dad taking me to the feast of Mt Carmel. I had cousins in the area named Charlie, Chickie and Natalie (nickname Sister).

Lenny Montilli April 3, 2017 - 2:59 pm

Linda — I remember the name Zambrano but it’s not a happy memory. The boy’s name was Richie Zambrano and I know he lived on Pleasant Avenue between 116th 117th Street.

I also lived on Pleasant Avenue (closer to Jefferson Park) until we moved in 1974.

Kathy Marro April 25, 2017 - 11:11 am

I remember the incident about Richie Zambrano and yes, it is not a good memory,. I lived on 117th between Pleasant and 1st.

Lenny Montilli May 4, 2017 - 2:33 pm

Hi Kathy — Did you also attend Mount Carmel School? Who were some of your friends in those days?

Jaime Robles July 18, 2018 - 11:07 pm

Linda and Kathy. I went to school with Ritchie
Zambrano. He was a good kid. One day I tried to bully him and boy did I get a good ass whipping. I owe him because he taught me not to look for trouble.

Frances May 23, 2020 - 2:42 pm


Elizabeth Leyser July 16, 2020 - 5:25 pm

Know Charlie and his wife Carolyn

Marie Parahus October 17, 2020 - 10:49 am

My name is Marie (Golio) Parahus I’m 78. I lived in 311 Pleasant Ave. between 116 & 117th Street Richie Zambrano live in my building with his brother Tino & sister Geraldine. As for Simmons I do remember a Natalie who lived on 119th Stree between Pleasant and the drive. Went to PS 78, Holy Rosary and Richmond High. Got married
in Holy Rosary, moved to the Bronx and then out to the island. Great times on the Ave.

John Sapone April 3, 2017 - 10:02 am

I also grew up on 119st between lex & third hung out in Georges ice cream parlor @ 118st 3rd avd went to the Cosmo movie house @ 116st went to ps 83 at 109st i remember Jefferson pool went twice a wk on the way home bought a slice pizza for 10 cents we played stick ball at 119st also ther was lizes clam house, harlem house the boys club, Randell island went skating @ Fordam skateing palace in the Bronx i knew a girl Arlene from 119st the city took down our Building an build a girls high school went to orchard beach i miss them days had a brother named Frank and have a younger sister named Mary Ann

Peter A Gallo April 6, 2019 - 9:24 pm

John did you know the Tamberinos (<—spelling) Wolfie=JR=Johnny=Nancy they had a relative Patty Moe?
I lived on 118th 2nd 3rd from 1939-1959

John Sapone May 20, 2019 - 9:06 am

yes my friends and jr is my brother inlaw Wolfe is ok johnny ok nancy patty moe just past away did you know my brother Frank he was with a few guys played in a band i miss does days

Anonymous May 20, 2019 - 9:10 am

yes friends and family did you know my brother frank

john May 22, 2019 - 3:00 pm

the Tamburrinos are family and friends did you have a nick name how do did you know them ?

Angelo Santaniello April 6, 2017 - 8:15 pm

Born and raised in East Harlem
In 1963 still own the building I grow up in my father bought it in 1946 119st and first Ave
Raised my kids there wouldn’t
Have changed it for nothing
Rex’s Italian ices
Patsy’s pizza
Morrones bakery
Andys tavern
Will always be a part of my life

peter zrinzo April 12, 2017 - 11:04 pm


I grew up in the projects on 119 st. and pleasant ave. I attended holy rosary school and for 1/2 year, PS 78. We moved to Long Island in 1963. I still remember the A&P on First Ave, and all the local places on Pleasant Ave.

peter zrinzo

Dawn Holloway April 17, 2017 - 1:16 pm

Hi there, I am the Library Manager of Morris Park Library in the Bronx and have a patron who is inquiring about two bakery’s in East Harlem in the 40’s-50’s if anyone have information about Strongone Bakery/or Pastry & Longobardo Bakery/or Pastry Shop please email me details. Thank you.

SYLVIA STANO February 19, 2018 - 12:09 am



BOBBBY May 7, 2017 - 11:06 pm

Would love to know .if any of you remember the Barnabas ,

Caravella angel January 19, 2018 - 8:58 am

Yes Angelo Anna Carmella they lived in I believe 453 east 117 street

ANTONIO ADORNO June 29, 2017 - 4:10 pm

I stumble on to this sight, while googling PS 78.. I lived in the projects at 505 E 120 St. from 1956 to 76. I attended PS 78, from 56 to the class of 62. My 6th grade teacher was Ms. DiLeo. I recall Ms DiLeo use to hit us with her keys over the head for talking. ‘Not Nice’.. She had a twin sister at PS 80.. Ms. Waltzer was the Principle. I ran into Ms. Waltzer 30 years later, while I was Driving a NYC Transit Bus in Manhattan. For many years, I thought that the picture of Geo Washingtion at the front of each classroom was her. ‘LOL’. Ms.Capano, and Mr. Bickoff were the Ass’t Principles went I left PS 78…anyone remember Ms. McCormick and Mr. Mason 5th grade teachers. I caught them making out in the teachers break room, and I told everyone. I went on to attend JHS 45, class of 65, and the on to Central Commercial HS. Any one remember John the Custodian. he went on to work at the new school that replaced 78. He hired me one summer after I returned from Vietnam to help clean the school during summer recess. We use to play Stickball, Stoop Ball and Tag Football on Pleasant Ave between 120 n 119 Sts. sometimes on 120 between Pleasant n Paladino. I recall Dennis Grocery, I dated his daughter a couple of times. George n Mary’s Deli. I loved his Spiceham and cheese Heros. ‘mmm’. George had snapshots of all the neighborhood kids that served during the Vietnam War. mine included. When he past, everyone in the hood attended his wake. There was Roy the Fruit and Vegetable stand next to Dennis. I had a half second cameo on the Godfather, when Sonny beat the S out of his Brother in Law at 118 St and Pleasant.
The best Ices in the world on 120 n 1st Ave by the Bakery. Patsy’s Pizzeria 118 st. I took many dates to eat there. My father was a good friend of Patsy’s.. Anyone recall the Hammerhead Shark hanging by the Bar. Patsy used to tell everyone he caught it himself. ‘Not True’..Jefferson Pool, we jump the fence, because we couldn’t afford to pay. sometimes we got caught,but most of the time No… Scotty’s Candy store for Egg Creams and used Comic books.. I had wonderful memories of that neighborhood. I remember a girl I was seeing when I was about 14, she lived at 117 St and Pleasant by Wally Frank Stores. The Jr. Knights use to chase me everytime I went to see her. I STILL LOVE YOU MARYANN,! wherever you are. I can go on and on.

ANTONIO ADORNO June 30, 2017 - 9:58 am

I have a correction to my post.. It was not ‘Maryann’ her name was ‘Grazelia’..and not ‘Wally Frank stores’ But ‘Frank Buick stores along Pleasant ave n 117th St. Maryann was from 119 St. Anyway GRAZELIA ! I still love you where ever you are. I think she was related to Frank Buick. She will be around 67 now, same as me.

Manny Rosario August 15, 2018 - 3:53 pm

You have a great memory. I remember you and I hanging out with Winston when we were in the boy scouts and learning to dance salsa. I also remember Richard Espinet, Paul, Moses and Robert. All good scouts. I enjoyed playing football, stick ball and tag on 120th street. Making passes at the girls when they looked out the window. I live in California (San Francisco area) since 1977. We ran into Frank leon and hang out with Jose Torres. I even saw Judy Robles. Small world. God bless everyone

Manuel Rosario September 13, 2019 - 1:05 pm

This morning I received an email that our brother Winston Figueroa (120th Street) passed away. He was a great friend, Boy Scout (Troop 660), funny and cool guy. RIP my friend

ANTONIO ORTIZ December 19, 2018 - 3:20 pm

I also had Miss DiLeo I LOVED HER ! Tough but fair. She use to make us wear ties, and if you “forgot” your tie she would make you wear one of her dad’s old ties LOL. She was a lady with big heart. I remember a classmate named Ralph Messina who’s Mom had passed away, she took Ralph under her wing and after Ralph had moved away she made sure that we ALL got a ride up to her home in Yonkers where we met her Dad and twin sister and with Ralph and had the opportunity to celebrate his birthday and see Ralphie once again. ALL on her DIME by the way, and who else was there on that day Miss Capano our Vice-Principle who was a classically trained singer, sang operatic Soprano. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Ralph E Messina July 20, 2019 - 10:30 am

Hi Antonio,
This is Ralph Messina-hope all is well with you. My cousin was on this site and saw this message. Miss Deleo and I kept in touch for many years. I even went to her wedding. She became known as “Aunt Roma”. She certainly was a wonderful person and helped me through one of the roughest times of my life. It is amazing how you referenced the birthday party andhow clearly you remembered so much. She certainly was an amazing teacher and friend. I would love to hear more from you and if you would like please email me @ Regards, “Ralphie”

Robert December 19, 2019 - 4:49 pm

That was so exciting at 10 years old, to jump the pool fence in t.j. Park after dark. Didn’t have the 10 cent to get in. 1954-1955.

Shannon July 11, 2017 - 8:59 pm

Forgotten NYC??? That’s offensive! This is my neighborhood and we would rather be forgotten. Leave us alone and stop moving in on us!

vinny August 7, 2017 - 8:29 pm

My dad, angelo grew up in e harlem in the 50s and 60s, where my grandma flo had her candy store,until she passed away in ’89. I remember going to visit the candy store as a child with my siblings…my dad was a wild kid in the area from what i hear. his nickname was dee dee.

Anthony P August 9, 2017 - 12:01 pm

anyone know what happened to the Cirillo’s? Chickie, WeeGee, Nickyboy and D? are they still around? someone told me mabye NJ, I was great friends with their uncle Carmine.

boots August 11, 2017 - 4:44 pm

weegee is dead

boots August 11, 2017 - 4:39 pm

Growing up on 123rd between 1st and Pleasant Avenue was something that always brings back memories and lots of laughs to friends. Yes, for your entire life and I am 81 I have friends from the area the same age or older, I grew up with, and we are still friends, forever. It is like a marriage vow until death due us part. I know many of us would like to go back to the days when things were much simple

Yes them were the days where respect reigned towards family and friends, most of us knew everyone and the girls were treated with respect with many of us married over 50 years or more. When people could walk into anyone’s apartment and be treated like family. We were not people of material wealth but love and benevolence were our greatest asset. What fond memories are exchanged when we meet and talked about our old neighborhood friends the nick names we gave each other, a lot of them, not PC correct for today’s mind set, but no one was offended. When I reminisce to my grandson, he loves the stories, places, and things we did. Then at times, I hear him say grandpa not again. At my age then we do have a tendency to repeat ourselves but good stories never die and must be told.

ANTONIO ADORNO August 29, 2017 - 9:41 am

@ Boots … Our stories are never old. God Bless !

john giordano September 18, 2017 - 8:12 pm

my late fathers (boy do i miss him) family used to live on E 112st between 2nd and 3rd avenues,across the street from our lady queen of angels! My cousin Anthony Rizzo was shot and killed in Jefferson park by some Puerto Ricans in 1970,71 or 72! As for me i lived from 1964 till 1967 at 349 E 109 street. I remember i used to go to Our lady of-Mount Carmel Feastwhen it used to be held on E 108 Street!

frank budano November 30, 2017 - 9:00 am

I was good friends with Anthony I remember that day well I believe Anthony grapes was with him please say hello to nick name Frankie nuthouse .

Anonymous April 4, 2018 - 3:41 pm

alex has also passad

Debbie Rizzo March 5, 2021 - 11:55 pm

Hi Frank I’m Debbie Rizzo
I’m Anthony Rizzo baby sis
Yes my brother was shot and killed on my moms bday on July 6 th 1968 I
I was only 9 years old I also lost Alex my other brother in 1988
I wish I can find pics of my brother Anthony Rizzo Any pics please email me
I’m trying to find any old pics of Anthony or Alex
Thank you
Debbie Rizzo Finaldi

Debbie Rizzo March 5, 2021 - 11:59 pm

Hi I’m Anthony Rizzo sister Debbie
You said my brother was your cousin
That’s odd I don’t Romberg you lol
Email me if you can at
My mom maiden name was Giordano I guess we are cousins lol

emmy simon (grano) October 27, 2017 - 9:04 am

I went to kindergarten (1935) P.S. 57 when it was on E. 114 St. between 3rd ave. and Lexington Ave..
I lived across the street from the school. Does anyone out there remember the school.

Anonymous May 28, 2019 - 2:46 pm

yes i went to ps 57 in the early 50 you were ther in 1935 ?

vevans January 31, 2018 - 8:45 pm

Does anyone remember Vito from this neighborhood? Had a younger brother named Joey? Please let me know

TA February 6, 2018 - 9:47 am

Hi Does anyone remember Phyllis, Ralph and Vinny Zoccolillo grew up on 118th and 123rd between 2nd and 3rd. back in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s ? Mother was Rose and father Orlando. Went to PS.80 and 78 Pleasant Ave

Dennis Cotto February 11, 2018 - 6:24 am

I’m 56 and grew up in Wagner Projects But I hung out with my Italian buddies on pleasant avenue. I had two good childhood friends named Vinnie (of course a lot of Italian kids were named Vincent). I don’t remember their last names. I was a streetwise kid and remember threw notable occasions. One 4th of July Vinnie ( he had a cleft lip) and the guys planted dynamite at the door of a bank after hours and blew it up What a unique 4th celebration! A second incident was when I was visiting from college coming from the cleaners on 117th and this same Vinnie came out firing a sub machine gun at a guy running zig zags across the street in broad daylight. A third incident involving the other Vinnie was at Norman high school when I helped defend Vinnie from some guys who jumped him for being the only blonde guy at the school. The next day Vinnie and his boys drove up and showed up with baseball bats. No need to say more. These stories aside, I have beautiful memories of getting Italian Ickes at Scottie’s and break sticks at the bakery. I also remember a candy store on I believe 118th street and pleasant avenue. the sweet old man would always give me free candy. I learned later as an adult that sweet old man was a mob boss. Anyway, eating hot powdered sugary zeppos in a brown bag at the Italian festival is all I need to say further about life growing up in the neighbourhood.

SYLVIA STANO February 19, 2018 - 10:27 pm

A great website, i lived at 106 St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave. We were the Tocken Spanish Family on the block. Gonzalez family. 5 girls and 1 boy. Often think about all the people who live there and share many memories with. Where are they now? The north side of the street was torn down to make way for new apartments. All our neighbors scattered to other boro’s or New Jersey.. wonder where all the businesses went. Gingomani funeral home, GCR backers. The best bread ever. Everyone call it VICTORIA’S nobody knew why, but that’s what we call it. Lanza’s electrical store. The coffee shop the had coffee’s from all over the world long before STARBUCKS was ever thought of. Ton Dick and Harry’s Shoe Store, Tony Sena’s candy store, Rosie’s vegetable store, Stonconi’s Pastry shop the little New stand on the Conner of 2nd Ave. and the Greek Grocerry store that sold us wonderful olive oil. We would bring our own empty bottles and choose what oil we wanted. Happy memories about my youth. Moved to Long Island in 1953 but never have forgotten out lives in East Harlem and I still tell people That I Grew up In East Harlem and Loved It. It taught me an awful lot. We all knew it was a rough area but you always fell safe.You could walk the streets late at night and never worry.Things are so different now. I feel sad for my Grandchildren for they will never know that peace of mind. For this generation what they have now is normal. I guess if you never had it you don’t really know what you’re missing.but we do. I glad there are still some of you who remember those places that have been replaced with larger and better buildings. Hope to hear from someone from the old neighborhood.

Jun March 5, 2018 - 11:27 am

Pleasant Avenue from 114th Street to 120th Street between 1st Avenue and the East River Drive. I remember its hidden name, not known today. It was called “Pleasant Village” by the old men of the neighborhood. I remember one day old man Whitey (mumbler) from 118th and the brothers Fats and Patty Apple (mumblers) from Pleasant Ave, tell a bunch of us, this is our home this is our village our Pleasant Village we protect it from outsiders no matter what. But we lost this beautiful place with so much culture to all this gentrification. We were proud of where we lived and what we had a place where everybody knew each other. Lets see how many of you remember what are mumblers.

david November 23, 2018 - 3:21 pm

what’s a mumbler, you got me

Edna Robles June 30, 2018 - 12:02 pm

I lived at 520 E 120 st. from 1950-1962 approx. Remember the good humor man and the half moon? Rodzio’s local grocery store?
anyone remember?
I’m Edna

Judy Robles Green July 8, 2018 - 12:39 am

Hi Edna! Yes I remember all of that, I’m Judy!!!! Best times ever on 120th St. !!

Judy Robles Green July 8, 2018 - 12:40 am

Hi Edna, yes I remember you. I’m Judy ! Best times ever on 1 20th St. !!!

John Tognino February 17, 2019 - 10:00 pm

I lived at 510 E. 120th Top floor. I remember Razio’s. The milk boxes outside and up 3 steps up. Charlie worked in the store too. Think he was Razio’s brother-in-law.

Patty Bonfiglio September 26, 2019 - 8:30 pm

Hey Tugboat. It’s me Patty your long lost neighbor…..Rozio was nice but Charlie was fresh…

Daniel Buonagurio July 9, 2018 - 8:47 am

I lived at 446 between 1st and Pleasant ave. Was member of the Arrows are colors were red n black,y # was 99. Any one remember me?
Played soft ball in the park by the.Ate then greek dogs every week end along with the orange aid.
Now live in burbs of NJ..Went back to 117 ST, couldn’t believe it was the same place I grew up in, trees all over the place looks like a park now.
Loved growing up there. Gave me a lot of street sense.
Dan Buonagurio

Hedy Taranto August 1, 2018 - 1:10 pm

Nancy nothing like growing up in East Harlem in the 1940’s and 50’s. I have the fondest memories growing up there. Remember all of the places you mention. Funny you should mention Harry the Greek hot dog guy. I was thinking about him the other day. He would park outside of Jefferson Park right across the street from Rao’s. LOL now that you mention, I remember the dogs outside of Rao’s lying on the ground. We would hang out in Rao’s too back then. Didn’t need a reservation or a private table. Just walked inside and had a drink at the bar where Sonny would bartend. He was a handsome guy. I write a blog and have been writing about East Harlem for the last few months. I found this website doing research for my blog. I lived at 113th and First, then moved to 115th and First. Hung out at a lot of places in the neighborhood. Mangini’s, The Hole, Rao’s, The Sugar Bowl, Delightful and a few more. Harlem was the best!

Steve Mularoni December 26, 2018 - 3:40 pm

Hello Hedy ,

I am also an Italian American born and raised in East Harlem. My dad of course was an Italian immigrant and we lived on east 104th street between 1st and 2nd avenue. I was born in 1977 and my sister and I were the last Italian family on the block. Everyone else either moved to Queens or Brooklyn ! Where can I read your blog ? We also went to St.Cecilia’s school on east 106th Street


Donna May 13, 2019 - 12:17 am

Hi Steven, I was also born in 1977 and grew up in the neighborhood. My mother spent many hours @ Carmines and the social club. I remember butchy use to gather everyone in the neighborhood with his July 4th spectacular and as I mentioned in my post, I remember Rex’s Icys, delightfuls on 1st ave, Jefferson Park, the muppet babies live in which the wonderful men of the social club use to present us neighborhood kids The Mahoney family on pleasant ave near the old factory, Johnny The Greek wGner projects, tieno towers, and so much more. Unfortunately in 1989, my parents moved myself and sibling out of the area -straight to the Catskills.

Manuel ROSARIO August 14, 2018 - 9:25 pm

I’m also a Puerto Rican from 120th Street & Paladino Ave (Dead end street before they build Paladino Ave.). I went to St Cecelia 107th Street, moved to 90 Paladino Ave (Public Housing) in the 50’s; went to PS 80 and PS 78; John S Roberts (1st class to graduate after three years); John S.W. Brown (one semester) and Benjamin Franklin (swimming team, track team and 1964 graduate). Boy Scout (Eagle Scout 1964). Played stick ball in PS 80 yard and football; marbles, flipped baseball cards. Air Force 1964 – 68; Graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice BA1975. Moved to California 1977 but my roots are in New York

david November 23, 2018 - 3:25 pm

i vaguely remember flipping baseball cards, some kind of a game where you could accumulate your competitor’s cards. how did that work basically?

Robert December 19, 2019 - 5:30 pm

I collected a d flipped. 2 basic ways. Place card against wall. 3-4feet. Let go . Trying to match card flipped. Face or back. Or, just hold in hand with thumb and figers. Wall just luck. In hand with plact ice i could flip face or back at will.

Charles September 27, 2018 - 12:01 pm

The Italians should open up businesses on the Pleasant Avenue strip. It would be sad to let this ancient Italian neighberhood die out. Belmont Avenue and Mulberry Street is still alive: why would anyone let go of this? Pleasant Avenue is still a beautiful strip but it seems like only Rao’s is the only Italian stronghold in the neighborhood.

Robert December 19, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Yes charles, and waiting list there is one and a half years.

Spaghette November 19, 2018 - 1:57 am

I lived in Harlem in the 50,s and played Boss Under-boss in the Half Moon restaurant on first Ave..Being young I would shiver in my pants when one of the biggies lost the hand. in cards. I would say no food or drinks for you.The dirty looks that I got may me wonder if ,is this the last day for me
on earth.Also use to hang out at Annuzatto gas station on first station and Choo Chews ice cream parlor on 105th st and first.

david November 23, 2018 - 3:36 pm

i vaguely remember flipping baseball cards, some kind of a game where you could accumulate your competitor’s cards. how did that work basically?

Manuel ROSARIO December 19, 2018 - 2:44 pm

If your card landed on his card you won all the cards on the ground. Sometimes we would throw one card out and we took turns trying to get our card to touch the first card. Again, winner takes all the cards. Just like marbles, the closest to the first marble wins the pile. Great games…

Anonymous January 16, 2019 - 10:38 pm

Does anybody remember tje LaSales from 116th st

Vin Ponz March 20, 2019 - 5:07 pm

I lived in the same building and also on the fourth floor and we left around 1960. I am now 81, March 2019, but I do not remember you. [430 E. 115st fourth floor]. I too got drafted in 1961-1963 and was stationed in Augsburg Germany. Beautiful country by the way…. I have a funny feeling we are getting mixed up. help….Vincent Ponzo.

Anonymous April 24, 2019 - 10:24 pm

I was born 418 East 119 street…went to P.S. 78. I am 72.

Donna May 13, 2019 - 12:00 am

I came across this page by chance, I lived at 418 east 120th between 1st and pleasant. I went to p.s. 206 and 112 during the 1980’s. I am the youngest of six siblings in which my older siblings and mother would be the ones remembered. I remember many places Carmine’s HotDog store, the Mahoney Family that lived near the factory on pleasant Ave between 119 and 118 th. The wonderful social club on pleasant, Jefferson park summer pool time, Rex Icys, Delightfuls on 1st ave. I am forever grateful to the Italians of the social club on pleasant for one wonderful memory they provided many neighborhood children with our yearly trip to watch the muppet babies live. I remember Johnny The Greek, Debbie, mike, Girty, baby Michelle, patty and Michael Mahoney – Carmine from carmine’s hotdog stand. I also remember buying comic books from the comic book store on 119 st on pleasant ave on the dead end street near ps 206. I also remember some of my elder siblings friends like Hector, cholo, boogie tone, and angel. I remember the hot rod car shop that Henry and his brother Pauly, had next to my old building on 120th. I remember the wonder lady Evelyn that worked at the corner store on corner of 120th on 1st ave, as well as my after school program at Jr High School 45 where us neighborhood kids were able to participate in art, dance, sports and swimming. It was nice to read everyones memories of the old neighborhood. In the past year I took a stroll through the old neighborhood and everything has changed including the once wonderful chatter of the streets.

Donna May 13, 2019 - 12:47 am

In addition to some old memories of mine, I also remember Eddie Gallo. My mother’s God father was Wiggles and my parents use to own the building across from Carmines hot dog stand and the social club. This building is the building I came home to when I was born, the store front was the original hotdogs stand which I remember a older red head lady owned it, until she pasted and carmine took over- moving the store front across the street. After my parents lost the building – we moved out the neighborhood to only move back a few years later, to move out again during my preteen years. During the 90’s I remember visiting with my mother and Butchy had created a strip club out of the store front of that building.

Sylvia Stano July 3, 2019 - 11:35 am

Left a comment back in June 2018 about my youth in the 40thy and 50thy in E. Harlem (106-2/3rd Avenue) have never hear back from anybody. Can’t believe they have all passed on.can across some photos of Vivian Zamatto. Does anyone know about the family. My email

Leroy August 8, 2019 - 11:08 pm

Went to JHS 45 from 74 to 76 prior I went to P.S. 80 ……born and raised in Wagner projects 2400 until 1986 when I moved to queens. Growing up in East Harlem was the best going to Jefferson pool in the summer jumping the fence to get in was cool b ack then. Also listening to the neighborhood d j in Wagner projects doing his thing ….shout out to my friends Delia /Evelyn and her sister Wilma ( who lived 120 st btwn 2nd and 3rd ave ) we would walk together to Benjamin Franklin H.S. In the morning s

Anonymous August 18, 2019 - 8:11 pm

Hi my name is Gladys Soto… In my 70’s now, but have great memories of East Harlem… I was raised in East Harlem 434 E. 118th St. – Lived 3rd floor – Remember the P.A.L. who showed up in the summer with games & activities to do. I remember the Franco’s who lived on the 1st floor… Went to PS 78. My favorite teacher was Mr. Pascual (3rd & 4th grade). Anyone remember him? Some classmates were David Mims, Frank (?), Lydia Perez who lived on 117th St. (can’t remember last names) and did catechism @ Holy Rosary across the street. Went to Holy Rosary mass on Sunday’s. Did 1st communion there. Hung out at Patsy’s, best pizza ever! Did Scottie’s candy store on 119th & Pleasant Ave. Best egg creams ever. – Loved the Italian Bakery on Pleasant between 119th & 118th, loved the black & white pastries, eclairs & napoleons. Played stickball with spaldings, kick the can, johnny on the pony, hopscotch, roller skated, and got wet in the pump on hot days! So much fun!! Got the best memories from East Harlem. Witnessed the filming of a segment of West Side Story on 117th St. Went to James Otis Jr. High in the Benjamin Franklin HS building. Was in the Choir there. Moved on to Washington Irving HS. Loved the Mt. Carmel feasts…Italian sausage sandwiches were the best! Hung out at Jefferson Pool 114th St. & Pleasant Ave. in the summers. Can’t remember the Italian icy place on 1st Ave & 118-117th Sts?? Hung out at the Community Center after school on 120th & 1st & 2nd Ave across from the Wagner projects. Went to the Park at 118th & FDR. Got married in 1966 and moved to the Bronx (Grand Concourse). Left NY in ’76 and headed to Puerto Rico. Lived there until 1990 and moved to Florida.
Anyone out there I can remember??

Robert December 19, 2019 - 5:44 pm

I remember a Gladys on 118st. I am 75. When to p.s.78. Did you ever go to the small park access from f.d.r. Drine. Think it was btw 118-119 You had black hair. Girl friend of yours was blonde. 11or 12 at the time.e mail me. Teachers i remember at 78 was Silverstone and boil.

Raymond Montoro January 23, 2021 - 6:06 pm

Hi Gladys I saw your post and the name looked familiar as did the name Lydia Perez. I checked my 6th Grade autograph book from PS 78 in 1960 and saw that you signed my book. My favorite Teacher was Miss Capano (5th Grade) and Mr. Bickoff (6th grade) I lived in the Wagner Homes on 120th between Pleasant Ave and the FDR Drive. Here’s hoping you might remember me.

Anonymous August 26, 2019 - 9:03 am

I still remember the Greek’s orange aid with the dogs!
Dan Buonagurio #99 on the Arrows.

Patty Bonfiglio September 27, 2019 - 12:25 pm

I lived at 526 East 120th Street

Robert December 9, 2019 - 4:25 pm

Hi patti, I remember Frankie buick.rented bikes for 25 cents a hour. I lived at 441e116st. 1944 to 1958 1959. Moved to bronx. Still drink Manhattan special soda. Italian ices vanilla and chocolate in white paper cup at 10 cents, I miss. patty, on that block i had relatives rita and Richie Francesco you may know.

Raymond Montoro January 23, 2021 - 5:52 pm

How far down 120th street was that toward the FDR? Your Last Name sounds familiar. I lived in the Wagner Homes (80) Paladino Ave 2nd building close to the FDR during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 12:42 pm

Hi Raymond.I had a friend from H.S. with similar neme who lived in area. Did you by chance go to High School of Commerce.?

Anonymous October 11, 2021 - 1:20 pm

Hi Frank: I did go to the H.S. of Commerce for a few terms. Your name has a familiar ring to it but I can’t say with certainty that I can remember you. Where did you live? I lived in the Projects near PS 78. Did you attend PS 78?

Leroy October 1, 2019 - 9:46 pm

I graduated from Ben Franklin class of 1980 I had lots of fun there I remember Ms Mathews my favorite math teacher. I was a quite teen but had lots of friends in H.S. My boy Benny Diaz … Delia Montes…..Judy……we played handball in Jefferson park every day cut class in the springtime …. But we all passed and graduated I missed those days I hope and pray for all of the kids then who are now adults today the Very best stay strong!

Patti October 19, 2019 - 12:45 pm

This if for Gary Lombino. I’m Stephanie Lombino’s cousin, Patti Cuomo. I knew your brother Danny. He was such a great guy. My Dad was Frankie Buick. He used to have the bicycle shop on 117 and Pleasant Ave. Me, my Mom and my brother, Jr. used to live at 2250 1st Ave. We started out at PS 78 and then went to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Take care Gary it was nice to see your name on this board.

Robert December 9, 2019 - 12:19 pm

Hi patti, I remember Frankie buick.rented bikes for 25 cents a hour. I lived at 441e116st. 1944 to 1958 1959. Moved to bronx. Still drink Manhattan special soda. Italian ices vanilla and chocolate in white paper cup at 10 cents, I miss.

Anonymous November 16, 2019 - 1:20 am

Grew up in E Harlem. My first memories are of social clubs having all the orzata, ice cream and soda I wanted. Scotties was the go to for classic comics when you didn’t want to read the book. Street stickball until the cops came and broke the stickball bat in a sewer cover hole. Softball on blacktop. Endless fireworks on July 4th. Opening the johnny pump on a hot summer day. Patsy’s Pizzeria at 10 cents a slice. And macaroni and meat gravy every Sunday, no exceptions. if you wanted air conditioning, you hopped on the second ave bus for 15 cents and went to the movies at the RKO or Lowes on 86th st. Manhattan Specials after ball playing and Italian ices at the lemonade stand on first ave. in the summer.

Robert December 15, 2019 - 1:34 pm

Hey, Did you read the post i wrote about the social club on pleasant ave ?? Got a laugh about the stickball. Listen to this anonymous. One summer day 3 of 4
of us were pitching pennies to the wall. Closrest, win all pennies. When 2 cops, plain cloths in car pulled over and
Said no gaming. Took name and addreses. Could you believe that conpaired to what Gos on now. I was Maybe 6 or 7. Threatened JD cards. A/C was when mom would put a few blankets out on firescape s and we would sleep there over night. NO crime then.hallway doors always left open. 441e116st. 5apartments per floors. 5 floors. What was your address anonymous ???

Anonymous January 1, 2020 - 2:24 pm

I lived at 446 between 1st and Pleasant ave. Was member of the Arrows are colors were red n black,y # was 99. Any one remember me?
Played soft ball in the park by the.Ate then greek dogs every week end along with the orange aid.
Now live in burbs of NJ..Went back to 117 ST, couldn’t believe it was the same place I grew up in, trees all over the place looks like a park now.
Loved growing up there. Gave me a lot of street sense.
Dan Buonagurio

William January 15, 2020 - 8:33 pm

Hello, my father Billy, and my Uncle Philly Rags grew up 326 Pleasant Ave. Anybody still alive that might have grown up with them? Thanks for your time. As my uncle Philly Rags would say: “Always in Italain/East Harlem”

Carmela January 20, 2020 - 12:40 pm

Loved East Harlem lived there from 1966 to 1979 worked at De Roma Pastry Shop 120 st 1 st Ave my name is Carmela I was about 19 years old and remember every thing and all my friends !!!!!! Still visit the area

Miguel Medina January 25, 2020 - 6:55 pm

WOW!!! I stumbled onto this sight by accident. Got seriously emotional. In town to celebrate my moms life – Sixta Medina. Pasted away 2 years ago January 27 at the young age of 95. We are the Medina’s from 445 – seven of us. One of the first families that moved into Wagner. I’m Miguel, or “Mikey.” My siblings in order – Maria, Ivan, Isabel, Gloria, Rafael, Melquiades (Junior), and me. Went to St. Pauls then Holy Rosary. “EL Barrio” is home! What incredible beautiful memories I have. Our dad was a Merchant Marine. This site has brought me great joy!

ANTONIO ADORNO May 11, 2020 - 7:44 pm

Miguel. I recall a friend name Ivan from 445, wagner projects. He’ll be about 70 now. I lived in 505. Everyone called me Ricky.
We have a FB site called ” El Barrio Family”. A friend of ours Rose Pijuan, started it in April. It has many members from Wagner, pleasant ave, ps 78, 45 and Ben Franklin. I invite you to join.

Michael DiCerto February 7, 2020 - 8:25 am

My hood! Born and raised. I grew up in the 70s-80s and have created a podcast about life there. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT:

robert dowling February 17, 2020 - 4:04 pm

i am a westside manhattan person West 60,s my pold nabe from there is gone thanks to lincoln center basically just like east harlem was torn apart by project back in 50s and 60s etc. some relatives had to move because of urban renewal supposedly just as i and family had to on west side. as far as i know my grandmother on mmothers side after italis was westside person but! mygrandfather after italia was east harlem person after marriage he moved to w 60s till lincole center also. not 100pct ssure but my grandmother was prob east harlem person before w/s move and marriage. even though a westside, went to feasts and visit relatices in east harlem. east harlem of 2020 is a million miles from east harlem of late 1800s to today although most of us our fram of memory is the 1900s to today. oh i jut remember while typing this my grandomother started out in east harlem and then gravitated to w/s manhattan, remember as one of HER memories was of the BLACK HAND (talk about OLD memories). sure some will remember BALSAMO funeral hime E 117st and pleasant if i am coorect, mention it as former nabe in bx has on of their fneral hoimes. over for now. another granmother memory hit me, she lived for while on e 104st and went to is it ST LUCYS CHURCH? i basically with some interludes lived fro w/s man and then upper w/sman and thn bx (formany yrs) now S I NYC. ov for now.

Louie puccio April 5, 2020 - 5:13 pm

Happen to find this site while being held up in the house due to the virus.
I’ve been reading all the comments and they’re all seem to be from pleasant ave side.
Let’s move down 2 blocks.
My name is Louie Puccio. I was born at 322 east Hun 16th. I am 64 yrs old. I lived across from LaGuardia house and above Morrone bakery. Best bread in tried state area. My friends were Skippy Larry Joey Anthony Jamie. We all attended Mount Carmel. I moved out in 1972 but visited the neighborhood frequently.
To me growing up in Italian east Harlem was truly a blessing from above. Whether you lived on Pleasant ave 1st or 2and avenue we were all brothers and sisters. There will never be a place like east harlem ever. For those of us that are still around God bless

Frances ORourke May 22, 2020 - 6:03 pm

I remember the Cosmo theatre on 116th Street. My girlfriend and I would skip school and watch movies. My name was Frances Angelino
Lived on 120th and First Ave.


Louie puccio May 23, 2020 - 11:45 am

Hi Frances.
You mentioned 120th and 1st. I remember a routine I had
On certain days. Drop off clothes at the tailor on 1st 117th -118th. Grab a slice from Patsy’s. Then an egg cream from ice cream store between 116th- 117th next to the bank.
Ah the good old days. And yes catch few movies at the

Leroy May 24, 2020 - 3:35 pm

I remember the Cosmo and the pizza shop next door the Cosmo had the best buttered pop corn
I use to go there in the late 70s and early 80s

Charley May 25, 2020 - 6:15 pm

My mother was Baptized at Mt Carmel and Married in Holy Rosary. For most of her life she lived on 110th between 1& 2nd Aves. But she went to Washington Irving H.S. by choice.
My father was raised somewhere around 112th -115th St. My Paternal Grandfather worked at Washburn wire factory. My Maternal Grandfather worked for sanitation (My Nana’s father got him into the job).
My Maternal Great Grandmother lived in the same apartment on 114th St between 1 & 2nd from when she was 13 years old, approximately until she died in 1959 and raised all of her kids there. I grew up hearing all of the stories about East Harlem all of my life!

Cathy Otello May 29, 2020 - 12:25 pm

My uncle was Zooch! My dad played football as well. He was “Mooney.” I have a photo of the football team.

Vincent Ponz August 26, 2020 - 10:23 am

I too played for the MC football team…Zooch was the coach and I played half back for the team for 5 years …….. 2 years at Cardinal Hayes football and 5 years with the MC team with Zooch as the coach. If I remember
correctly we won 3 champion out of the 5 years I played with the team. All 5 years I started at half back. At one time we played an all black team from Queens..the were all in beautiful uniforms…we on the other hand hardly had matching uniforms…we beat them. I think I played with your father a few time.

Marie June 12, 2020 - 1:25 am

OMG Louie, I remember you! I had such a crush on you!! LOL My Name is Marie. You had an older brother, can’t remember his name.(Anthony ? ) My Aunt Fannie used to live in 324 top floor. I lived on 2nd Ave between 116 & 117 st. I was a year behind you in OLMCS. This is just too funny! I found this site by accident because I was telling friends who are not NYers about growing up in East Harlem and The Delightful restaurant. Johnny Pretino was in my class in Mt Carmel. Moved to the Bronx my last yr at Mt C. I used to take the subway home with Mrs Green , the school secretary.I live in Florida now. This just blew me away! Hope all is well .

Louie puccio June 14, 2020 - 7:13 am

Hi Marie
Wow like they say a blast from the past. I want to say I remember you but I’m not 100%. Your aunt lived on top of Morrone bakery. Yes my older brother was Anthony.
Did you know a good friend named Joey. Had older brother Jimmy and sister Tony girl.
I had moved to Throgs neck in the Bronx. Now living on
Long Island. Tell your friends how fortunate we were growing up in the best neighborhood ever. I got stories for them.
Lol. Be safe. Hope all is well by you.

Marie June 19, 2020 - 12:13 am

HI Louie,
You probably don’t remember me….I didn’t hang out on 116 much . My friends were from 1st Ave. I was good friends with one of the Santarpia girls and a few of the girls from 116 closer to 1st Ave. We used to sit on the windows of the Bank on 1st Ave/116 St. Did your friend Joey live in your building? Last name began with a C? If that’s him, he was in my class at Mt C. I was good friends with his cousin Nancy.Sadly we all lost touch with each other. And YES, it was Uh- Hun- 16 St. I still say that! Old habits die hard . : ) Been in Fla for 13 yrs and REFUSE to lose my NY accent. Haven’t been back to the neighborhood in a long while. Last time I went was about 5 yrs ago and went down to the feast. Sad that it’s not what it used to be. You want to talk stories! I have quite a few riding the subway every morning and afternoon in my Catholic school uniform from the Bx to 116st and back. Talk about an education. lol Take care .

Louie puccio June 21, 2020 - 5:34 am

Good morning Marie. Joey’s last name was Santorelli. They lived above bakery on 2nd Ave. Between hun 116th and hun 117th. If you sat on bank ledge on 1st. Ave you must remember Bopbo the begger. Ah great times. This yrs feast gathering probably won’t happen because of virus. As I’m writing im starting to remember your face little bit. Who knows maybe you’ll visit NY one day. Maybe during the feast
Get together. I have so many stories it would take days to
Write. Maybe if you want I could leave my email address and you could contact me. Then I could give you my number and we could reminisce about the best yrs of our lives. Stay well. Hope to talk soon ciao.

Vincent Ponzo August 23, 2022 - 12:40 pm

I lived across the street from Mt Carmel…430 E 115 st…went to Mt Carmel until 1952…then to Cardinal Hayes 1952 1956…..played football for Hayes then 5 years with the Mt Carmel

football team…we won 3 championships out the 5 ears I played with them; Played against the NY Titans who later that year became the NY Jets..

jacquelyn A foley December 8, 2020 - 12:01 pm

Jacquelyn Foley

Hi read all these wonderful comments and the reminiscing is amazing, I am a 4th gen Italian and my grandmother Nettie Mennona grew up on these streets, she is now 99 years young, she went by the fresh air fund to upstate NY, they were sending young kids as part of a program to get kids out of the City and into the country for a few weeks a year. any one do this ? anyone know any family Sambratos or Mennonas?

Anonymous February 23, 2021 - 10:16 am

I was one of those Fresh Air Fund kids in the 70’s.

Valerie February 1, 2021 - 8:11 pm

Bakery on Pleasant – 218th street was Kushker. great buns.

Athena February 23, 2021 - 2:56 am

Hello Everyone, my name is Athena. I love reading all your stories. My family came from NY, but I was born in CA. My Grandfather, Jose Rodriguez, just called Rodriguez, in 1930’s had a couple of stores, candy, tobacco and Rosie’s Grocery Store on 38 / 40 West 116th street. Is this too far from where most of you grew up? It’s a nail salon now. My Mom (she passed and I’m missing her terribly. Probably why I read everyone’s posts.) told me many stories of this area and growing up. I was wondering if anyone has any memories of this area or knows of anyone who might. I’m trying to find pictures of the store fronts too. Or maybe another site that might be for that area that I’m looking for? Any suggestions would be so appreciated. My email is

Anonymous February 23, 2021 - 10:14 am

This was my childhood neighborhood. We lived at 416 E. 116thSt., the same building as Rosie’s Candy Store. I live there in the 60-70’s, then moved to Castle Hill Ave in the Bronx… directly next door to Joe and Joe’s Restaurant. I always take pride in saying I came from this neighborhood. It was special… and to me was the safest neighborhood in Harlem… and we all know why.

Athena February 25, 2021 - 6:13 pm

Hello Everyone, my name is Athena. I love reading all your stories. My family came from NY, but I was born in CA. My Grandfather, Jose Rodriguez, just called Rodriguez, in 1930’s had a couple of stores, candy, tobacco and Rosie’s Grocery Store on 38 / 40 West 116th street. Is this too far from where most of you grew up? It’s a nail salon now. My Mom (she passed and I’m missing her terribly. Probably why I read everyone’s posts.) told me many stories of this area and growing up. I was wondering if anyone has any memories of this area or knows of anyone who might. I’m trying to find pictures of the store fronts too. Or maybe another site that might be for that area that I’m looking for? Any suggestions would be so appreciated. My email is Thank you!

David August 18, 2021 - 11:36 pm

Does anyone remember the Red Wings and Crusaders from East Harlem in the late 1950s?

frank concerto August 31, 2021 - 12:39 pm

Hello Pam. I am trying to Picture you but can’t at the moment as we were not in same circle but just neighbors.. I hope all is well with you and your family.

Just as a P.S Tom . I was in the neighborhood yesterday (Monday ,Aug. 30,2021 and parked on E 119 st near your building just past the empty lot, which I noticed has gotten bigger since the building i lived in is on longer there. One elderly lady who took care of building and garbage pails named Muntzie Muntzenberger. She was another delight of mine in the neghborhood.

frank concerto September 6, 2021 - 11:25 am

Fond memoies of Cosmo thearte France. Remember when my mom took me to see The Ten Commandments with Charlton Heston as Moses in 1957. I was abou 10 then. What a great day that was.

Professor Lee B. Kass December 19, 2021 - 9:04 am

I lived at 23-48 first avenue between 120th and 121st street. I found this site because I was looking for PS 80 It was torn down along with the house we lived in and the cleaning store that my dad owned.
We then moved to a brownstone on 120th street and then to Brooklyn in 1955 then to Long Island when I was a senior in HS. I am now 75 years old and have memories of living in Manhattan when the Italian gangs fought the Puerto Rican gangs. It was frightening for a young child which is why our parents moved us to Brooklyn.


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