Vincent Prezioso

Interviewed By Jeremy Warneke

Community activist Vincent Prezioso has lived in the east Bronx for over 75 years. In this interview, he recalls life in the Morris Park neighborhood from the 1930s up to 2015 and the many changes he's witnessed. For anyone who grew up in the Bronx, this interview will bring back a wide range of memories -- from hunting rabbits with slingshots in "the lots" to dancing at The Starlight Ballroom at West Farms, from riding "the Dinky" from East 180th Street station up to Dyre Avenue to watching champion prizefighter Jake LaMotta working out on Pelham Parkway, from shopping at Macy's Parkchester to enjoying ice cream sodas at Krum's Coffee Shop on the Grand Concourse. Mr. Prezioso vividly brings to life a time when the Bronx was still transitioning from a rural area to a thriving borough with vastly different neighborhoods. (Summary Written By: Joanne Dillon)

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1934; Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital (00:35)
Bogart Avenue (01:06)
Public School 83 (01:16)
1855 Bogart Avenue (01:23)
1939 to 1950s (01:37)
Morris Park; Italian neighborhood (02:14)
Christopher Columbus High School; Astor Avenue (02:44)
Great Depression; WWII; rationing; ration books; (02:55)
collecting scrap metal (03:38)
collecting scrap metal (03:44)
Morris Park Avenue; Playing in the Lots; country (04:27)
projects; open land (05:20)
local farm; paid on the honor system (05:39)
trolley cars; Morris Park Avenue; West Farms; Tremont Avenue; "B" Line; Fordham Road; nickel fare (06:18)
West Farms; "The Hub;" trolley cars; automat (06:32)
Bickford's Restaurant; Horn & Hardet (07:03)
Yankee Stadium; 161st Street; Third Avenue; Courthouse (07:30)
taking care of neighbors (08:38)
180th Street Station; landmark status (09:25)
downtown subways; Paramount Theater; Astor Theater (10:04)
43rd Precinct; 49th Precinct; Williamsbridge Road; Tremont Avenue; Westchester Square; Pelham Parkway South; Eastchester Road (10:32)
47th Precinct; Pelham Gardens (11:04)
Morris Park Avenue; shopping; A&P Supermarket; Paulding Avenue (11:24)
Paulding Avenue Bar; Colden Avenue Bar; Brucolli's Pharmacy (SPELLING) (11:35)
Russo Brothers Bread Shop (12:08)
Danek (SPELLING) Lamp Store; Morris Park Avenue (13:17)
beat cop; patrol cars; relationship with local police (14:01)
Big Bands, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, The Lindy Hop (15:34)
impact of drugs on neighborhood (18:20)
Neal Avenue (19:01)
Pelham Gardens; Astor Avenue (19:12)
St. Lucy's RC Church; Holy Rosary; Einstein Hospital; Thanksgiving Drive; Toy Drive (20:11)
delivery boy; working for tips (21:26)
deadbeats (22:10)
honor system (22:43)
PS 83; schoolyard; handball court; basketball court; Lydig Avenue (23:02)
fight against big box stores; community activism; community board 11; Bronx Borough President Freddie Ferrer; (24:46)
Community Board 10; Jimmy Vacca; Landmark Status; 180th Street Station (29:20)
Community Board 11 (31:28)
Chester Civic; (36:05)
neighborhood patrols; Northeast Bronx Association; 47th Precinct; 49th Precinct; Allerton Avenue; working with NYPD (37:33)
Globe Theater; Pelham Parkway South; White Plains Road; Starlight Ballroom; West Farms; "Marty" the movie (41:46)
Revolutionary War Graveyard (43:11)
Dyre Avenue; Paulding Avenue; Morris Park Station; Gunhill Road; 180th Street Station; "The Dinky" (44:03)
49th Precinct; Pelham Parkway; Eastchester Road (45:13)
Chateau Pelham (45:26)
driving range; Mother Butler Academy; Senior Center; neighborhood changes (46:04)
Jacobi Hospital; slingshots; "The Lots"; (46:33)
FreedomLand; Co-Op City; Bobby Rydell (46:52)
FreedomLand (46:56)
Albert Einstein Hospital; Jacobi Hospital (47:31)
Morris Park Avenue; Fowler Avenue; the Gashouse; (48:02)
Bogart Avenue; Morris Park Avenue; WWII Servicemen Honored on Billboard;Rhinelander Avenue; Colden Avenue (49:12)
WWII War Bonds (51:02)
Dumont Television; Jake LaMotta; Neal Avenue; Friday Night Fights; Gillette Shave (52:07)
Five Corners; Van Nest Avenue; Johnny Rinaldi; Nick Barone; prize fighters; (52:48)
Johnny Rinaldi; Nick Barone; NY Yankees; Georgie Sternweltz (sp?); Molnar Avenue; Bronxdale Avenue; Carmine Vingo (sp?) Rocky Marciano; neighborhood sports legends (53:03)
Georgie Sternweitz (sp?); NY Yankees (53:08)
Morganna King; Actress; "The Godfather" (53:46)
rise of gangs; late 1950s; The Click (sp?) Club; The Golden Guineas (54:15)
The Click (sp?) Club; Morris Park (54:26)
St. Francis Xavier (55:09)
Radcliffe Avenue (55:19)
stickball games; PS 83; softball games; (56:46)
childhood games; Double Dutch; jump rope; potsy (58:22)
street peddlars; fish monger; knife sharpener;umbrella repair; troubadors; (58:39)
coal furnaces; ash cans (59:33)
apartment house life; dumbwaiters; ice boxes; bread boxes; clothes lines; wash tubs (59:49)
sleeping on fire escapes (01:02:33)
party lines; telephone service (01:04:21)
Parkchester; Loew's American (01:05:43)
Grand Concourse; Loew's Paradise; (01:06:00)
Krum's (Coffee Shop); Grand Concourse (01:06:06)
Parkchester; Federal Diner; Zaro's Bakery; Hamburger Express; Chester House Bowling Alley (01:06:12)
Chester House; Weddings (01:08:01)
New Terrace Gardens; 180th Street; Washington Avenue; dances; dance halls (01:08:54)
wedding traditions (01:11:09)
Morris Park Avenue; Morris Avenue; (01:12:17)
Park Theater; Morris Park Avenue; Molnar Avenue (01:12:48)
Buddy's Flower Shop (01:14:00)
White Plains Road; Garfield Street; Taylor Avenue; "The Presidents Streets"; Williamsbridge Road (01:14:46)
Roman Catholic Parishes; St. Clare's; St. Francis Xavier; Loretto Park; 43rd Precinct (01:15:12)
Our Lady of Solace; St. Dominic's; (01:15:39)
St. Clare's RC Church; altar boy; Bogart Avenue (01:16:30)
St. Clare's RC Church; Cathecism Classes; (01:16:47)
Holy Rosary Parish (01:17:32)
St. Thomas Aquinas High School (01:19:34)
Korean War (01:20:28)
family; Harlem; family business; Jackson Heights, Queens (01:20:52)
Astoria Boulevard (01:23:40)
move to Bogart Avenue, Bronx (01:24:37)
Arthur Avenue (01:25:29)
Joe Pepitone; NY Yankees (01:27:04)
1955; return from Korean War (01:27:37)
Indian Village (01:32:20)
Hone Avenue; junk man; Anthony Micolletti; Valley Forge Military Academy (01:33:45)
Branch Library; Rhinelander Avenue; Van Nest Branch Library (01:39:02)
Morris Park Branch Library (01:41:06)
Christopher Columbus High School (01:42:39)
Bronxdale Avenue; Williamsbridge Road; White Plains Road; Lydig Avenue (01:43:01)
Pelham Parkway; Lydig Avenue; Jewish food; Snowflakes Bakery (01:43:39)
Lydig Avenue; Rhinelander Avenue; Williamsbridge Road (01:44:44)
milk delivery; milkmen; milk boxes; horse drawn wagons (01:45:20)
home deliveries; milkmen; breadman; diaper delivery service (01:46:37)
supermarkets; Chinese laundries (01:47:54)
Morris Park Avenue; Seminole Avenue; Yates Avenue; Chinese laundry (01:49:03)
cold storage; fur storage; dry cleaners (01:49:41)
Arthur Avenue; (01:50:24)
neighborhood restaurants; Doyle's; The High Hat; Arthur Avenue; Capri; Lamplighters Inn; Sorrento's Pizza (01:51:38)
Eastchester Inn (01:53:34)
Maestro's; Bronxdale Avenue (01:54:29)
Pasta Pasta; Maestro's; Blaise's; catering halls (01:54:54)
Maestro's formerly Blaise's (01:55:04)
Marina Del Rey; Throgg's Neck (01:56:07)
Draft Board; Arthur Avenue; WWII; Korean War; Wagner Building (01:56:25)
"Dear John" Letters (02:04:36)
Red Cross; letters home; (02:11:22)
Red Cross (02:12:27)
family; grandparents; Italy (02:16:53)
World War I; Garibaldi (02:17:52)
fishing; City Island; (02:18:35)
General Patton's Division US Army; WWII (02:19:59)
speaking Italian; speaking English (02:21:20)
Naples, Italy (02:22:46)
family's military service; World War I; World War II; Korean War (02:24:00)
Pelham Bay General Hospital; homeless shelter (02:24:23)
Manhattan College; Stevens Institute of Technology (02:25:18)
Harrison, New York (02:25:41)
Greenwich, Connecticut (02:25:49)
Fordham Prep; Holy Rosary Elementary School; Manhattan College; scholarships (02:25:57)
NASA (02:26:23)
death of sister (at 4 months) (02:29:06)
Morris Park (02:30:26)
Morris Park; Zerega Avenue; Neighborhood Patrols (02:31:17)
Chester Civic Association (02:34:23)
Joe Thompson (02:35:58)
Block Parties (02:38:40)
Neighborhood Patrols (02:44:25)
Pelham Gardens; Senior Population (02:45:43)
Albert Einstein Hospital; St. Lucy's RC Church; Holy Rosary RC Church (02:48:54)
Madeline Provenzano; Burns Playground (02:52:56)
Little Italy; Mott Street; Carmine Street; move to the Bronx (02:54:26)
Sons of Italy (02:56:22)
Maestro's Restaurant (02:58:17)
Morris Park Bakery (02:58:53)
Arthur Avenue; Fordham Road; Morris Park Avenue; Christmas Lights and Decorations (02:59:46)
Neighborhood Christmas Decorations; Toyland (03:01:39)
Macy's Parkchester (03:02:43)
Guy Vallella (sp?); New York State Senator (03:05:40)
trolley cars; Morris Park Avenue; Change to Buses; Cobblestoned Streets; "The Hub"; 149th Street and Third Avenue; Williamsbridge Road (03:10:04)
Brooklyn Dodgers; New York Yankees; World Series (03:13:45)
Horseback riding on Pelham Parkway (03:14:24)
Tar Beach (03:15:18)
RKO Chester; West Farms (03:16:32)
Jack's in the Square; Westchester Square; Restaurant (03:16:47)
Penny Arcade; City Island (03:17:02)
Bus Passes; Williamsbridge Road; Astor Avenue; Bogart Avenue; Pelham Parkway (03:17:33)
Jake LaMotta; Pelham Parkway; (03:18:12)
Softball Games (03:19:01)

Interview Data

Date of Interview
October 19, 2014
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About This Collection

Voices from East of Bronx Park: An Oral History Project of the Allerton, Van Nest, Pelham Parkway and Morris Park Communities

Voices from East of Bronx Park is an oral history project that works to both preserve and document the neighborhood history of the Allerton, Pelham Parkway, Morris Park, and Van Nest communities through the stories of people who have experienced it. The project will collect oral histories of people who live in neighborhoods east of Bronx Park and train community members to conduct these interviews. Longtime residents and those who have worked in these neighborhoods are invited to share their stories, documenting an important past and present history. Interviews will be preserved at The Milstein Division of United States History, Local History, and Genealogy. Interviews will also be available in a circulating collection and accessible on this website.

Transcript

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