Sanitation Worker, DJ and Local Legend Passes Away at 51
By Matthew Fischetti | [email protected]
In the morning, Joseph Guarisco would wake up early to clean the streets of New York City. At night, he would keep the party going as a local DJ. And in between, he put a smile on the faces of the Ridgewood community with his infectious warmth and charm.
Joseph Guarisco, more commonly known as “Joey G” unexpectedly passed away on March 8 at 51-years-old. Joey G was seemingly everywhere in the community, family and friends recalled. Whether it was neighborhood cleanups, coaching soccer at Christ The King, DJing for Sweet Sixteens or birthdays, Joey G was there and is fondly remembered by members of the Ridgewood community.
Marco Conter, who knew Joey G for 18 years working for the Sanitation Department, said that Jey G was one-of-a kind. He never saw him in a bad mood, always had a lot of energy and would crack jokes about himself.
“He was the only guy who I knew who would sing at six in the morning,” Conter recalled at his funeral, noting how he would still be wiping the crust out of his eyes while Joey G brimmed with energy.
Steven Meditz, who knew Joey G since they were in fifth grade when they attended St. Matthias together, quickly became friends and bonded over their love of music.
“He was larger than life and everybody loved him. He was very involved with everything. Always organizing events, coaching for the kids, DJing, creating events, reunions for St. Matthias and Christ The King,” Meditz recalled in a Zoom interview. “He was always the center of attention.”
Meditz, a fellow lover of Freestyle music (a form of electronic dance music that was popular in the 80s and 90s) even began DJing with Joey G in their highschool years.
He recalled the many late nights carrying the “coffin” of DJ equipment from Fresh Pond Road, and early morning breakfasts at diners.
“He made you feel like you were friends for years. Even if you just met him. He just had that personality, that charisma,” Christina Meditz, Steven Meditz’s wife, who knew Joey since they attended high school together at Christ The King, recalled in a Zoom interview.
She sat two seats ahead of him in homeroom class and said that he reminded her of a brother-like figure.
“He reminded me so much of my own brother – it was crazy, resemblance wise, attitude wise. And he acted like a brother, protective and caring,” she recalled.“I would bet my life savings that you would not find someone to find a bad word to say about him.”
Robert Schoemig, the owner of the Avenue Restaurant Bar and Grill in Ridgewood, had many memories of Joey G. They first met at Christ The King but also had many memories of him helping out at The Avenue.
Joey G used to DJ at the eatery and bar during ‘Freestyle Fridays.’ While the music waned in popularity in subsequent years, Joey G would still come out and support the restaurant.
After pandemic restrictions were lifted, Joey G “brought in the troops” to the restaurant and DJ’d to try and help the business. He also came to watch nearly every Super Bowl at The Avenue, regardless of who was playing. During a recent Super Bowl game, which he couldn’t attend, Joey G still sent his kids to go and watch the game to keep the tradition alive.
“He was the party. He was the guy to talk to. If you needed something, he would get up in the middle of the night and come help you, Schoemig recalled in a phone interview. “You know that wasn’t just for me, that was for all his friends. He’d offer the shirt off of his back.”
Arlene Lomastro knew Joey G since her sons worked with him at a local deli in their teenage years and said she remembered him by his respectful nature, big smile and always being a source of laughter and fun.
“Every time he would pass on the truck, he would see me jump off the truck, hug me and just tell his partner. ‘Oh, she makes the best penne alla vodka you ever wonder to taste,’” Lomastro recalled in a phone interview.
Joey G is survived by his wife Vicky and his two sons, Michael and Nicholas; as well as his father Michael, his mother Josephine and his sister Rossana.
A GoFundMe is raising money for the family to deal with expenses, which can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/joseph-guariscos-family.