I was recently introduced to the New York State Assembly by the Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, President of the NYS Italian American Legislators, and recognized by the Assembly Speaker, Peter Rivera, who lauded me for my accomplishments and invited me to come back as a guest of the Assembly. The Assemblymen applauded me, cheered and spent a few minutes taking pictures with me and my daughter, who will attend Cummings School of Veterinary Science at Tufts University in the fall. As many of the readers may know, the introduction and recognition of a special guest to the Assembly is an honor bestowed upon people whose activities have enriched the culture of the State.
Truthfully, I did not know what to expect… I’m not much of a social person. I like to write. I like to create. I’ve always stayed on the side, out of the limelight, which is hard to do as a magazine executive (I have been for 21 years the Editorial Director of L’Idea magazine, a bilingual quarterly published in Brooklyn since 1974). I kept on saying to myself that maybe I shouldn’t have been there. The enthusiasm of the Assemblymen surprised me so much that I did not know where to look, and I am glad I did not have to make a speech.
They wanted to take pictures with me, which I really thought was funny. This was one of the few times I was being recognized personally, and I felt fulfilled and satisfied. That was the most unusual part, because I was honored to take pictures with them, but they were asking to take pictures with me. I was like a child in the FAO Schwarz toy store. It was really peculiar.
I am the product of a Public School education, since I graduated from John Jay High School in Brooklyn, Kingsborough Community College, Queens College, New York City Technical College and SUNY Purchase College. I published two books (Caro Fantozzi and Doña Flor) and two more are on the way. I wrote and published countless articles in Canada, Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece and USA. I organized and assisted in the creation of many events in our community, as a member of the Sons of Italy, the Lions International and the Circolo Culturale di Mola.
I am, most of all, a Brooklyn child, since I spent my youth in Carroll Gardens playing soccer with then not-yet-champ Vito Antuofermo,my college years working in the evenings in Brooklyn Heights, at the famed Queen Restaurant, and driving to Astoria to meet my date. Of that, I am proud. I hope all my friends in Brooklyn and Queens will feel the same way about my recognition by the NYS