29th Meeting Minutes

Vito Marcantonio Forum People’s Pilgrimage to East Harlem:

In the Footsteps of Vito Marcantonio

Minutes of Meeting

September 6, 2015

In attendance:  Gerald Meyer, Lionel Francois, Chris Bell, Maria Lisella, Roberto Ragone, Gil Fagiani, LuLu LoLo, Rita Barakos

Themes for Press Release and Narrative Handout on day of event

  • Third Annual Commemoration on Life and Work of Vito Marcantonio
  • People’s Pilgrimage / Procession (secularized use)
  • Creating a public ceremony and establishing a tradition laden with the values of VMF and what has been neglected by the wider society.
  • Bringing It Home to East Harlem (having the commemoration in September instead of August and in East Harlem rather than Woodlawn Cemetery)
    • Because the Pope is visiting East Harlem and has shown an interest in rectifying the Church’s errors of the past. This  aligns him with the need to reconsider the decision to not give Marcantonio a Catholic burial based on a politicized decision during the McCarthy Era’s hysteria.
    • The major sites of Marc’s entire life’s work can be found within 25-square blocks
    • All significant sites identified for the tour are still standing except his childhood home
    • LaGuardia, Marcantonio’s mentor,
      • represented East Harlem before becoming Mayor
      • created key political tradition (e.g. campaigning at the Lucky Corner on Election Eve) and their political institutions (e.g. LaGuardia Political Association headquarters)
      • passed away in September, which became another reason why we’re having the event in September rather than August.
  • Leadership on issues that make him relevant today (i.e. what is missing today ) include:
    • Tribune of the People
    • Coalition Builder
    • Devotion to Community
    • Defender of Human Rights ( as stated on his tombstone)
    • National Spokesperson for Immigrant Rights
    • Defender of Civil Rights – Opposed Poll Tax and Lynchings, unlike today where voting restrictions are being put in place and political campaign costs are similar to a poll tax for potential candidates
    • lobbyists)
    • Advocate for public housing, which at the time was a great development because it replaced tenements and provided heat, hot water, sunshine/ventilation, and reasonable rents
    • Unlike the privatization of the public sector and neglect of infrastructure today,  Marcantonio, LaGuardia, Covello made it possible to build the East River houses and Benjamin Franklin High School.
    • Defender of Bill of Rights – Opposed McCarthyism
    • The post-WWII Cold War and foreign intervention like the Korean War
    • Lived within 25 square blocks (Victory through service to constituency not through ingratiation with lobbyists and special interests)
  • Other content for hand out should include
    • bullet point about the significance of the sites (e.g. in terms of Marcantonio’s accomplishments)
    • our next two events
    • contact information

About 9 minutes per location

BEGIN:

Stop 1

On North East Side: (facing “The Lucky Corner”)

116th Street Lexington Avenue:

“The Lucky Corner”

Presentations:

  • Gerald Meyer: Introduction/Greeting
  • Roberto Ragone: Marc’s speech on Lucky Corner

Walk East To:

Stop 2

229 East 116th Street (between Third and Second Avenues):

Leonard Covello’s House

Presentations:

  • Roberto Ragone: Introduction to Covello
  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Reading a section from Leonard Covello’s book The Heart Is the Teacher: “What’s in a Name?”

Stop 3

231 East 116th Street (between Third and Second Avenues):

Vito Marcantonio’s House presentations:

  • Gil Fagiani: Marcantonio’s Rootedness to the community
  • Gil Fagiani : “Litany to San Vito,” in English and Italian

Stop 4

247 East 116th Street (between Third and Second Avenues):

The Fiorello LaGuardia Political Association and later the Vito Marcantonio Political Association (sometimes referred to as a “political club”)

Presentations:

  • Chris Bell: Introduction/History of the Marcantonio Political Headquarters
  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Reading of two letters written to Marcantonio from his constituents

Stop 5

Corner of 116 Street and Second Avenue in front of storefront, formerly Cincotti Bakery now Sandy’s Restaurant

Presentation:

  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Remembrance of her father Pete Pascale talking to Vito Marcantonio on that Corner

Walk East and Cross Second Avenue:

(Note stops 6, 7, and 8 are near each other)

Stop 6

Northeast Corner 116th Street:

Street sign “Pete Pascale Place”

Presentation:

  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Speaking about her father Pete Pascale

Stop 7

305 East 116th Street (between Second and First Avenues):

Red the Barber’s Shop, now the Sisters of Notre Dame Thrift Shop

Presentation:

  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Quoting from Pete Pascale’s oral history in You Must Remember This: An Oral History of Manhattan From the 1890’s to World War II” by Jeff Kisseloff  about Vito Marcantonio and Red the Barber’s Shop

Stop 8

307 East 116th Street (between Second and First Avenues):

Haarlem House, renamed LaGuardia Memorial House in 1956

Presentations:

  • Gerald Meyer: History of Home Garden Settlement/Haarlem House/LaGuardia Memorial House
  • LuLu LoLo Pascale: Personal Memories of Haarlem House/LaGuardia Memorial House and Pete and Rose Pascale and Edward Corsi with photographs

Walk South on Second Avenue to:

Stop 9

229 East 113th Street:

Our Lady Queen of Angels Church  / 229 East 112 Street

Our Lady Queen of Angels School /  229 E 112th St, New York

Presentations:

  • Adam Meyer: Emcee (introduces Frank Marcantonio)
  • Gerald Meyer: Tie in Marcantonio Commemoration to Papal Visit
  • Frank Marcantonio: Reads Letter to the Pope

Walk South To:

Stop 10

325 East 112th  Street (between Second and First Avenues):

Site of Vito Marcantonio’s birthplace now Thomas Jefferson Houses
Presentations:

  • Gerald Meyer: Birthplace of Vito Marcantonio with photo of the building\
    • Born in a tenement
    • Was a mixed use block
    • Role of Public Housing – Advocate for public housing, which at the time was a great development because it replaced tenements and provided heat, hot water, and reasonable rents
  • Gerald Meyer: The role of VMF

Walk East to First Avenue:

Stop 11

407 East 114th Street (between First  and Pleasant Avenues):

Leonard Covello attended the Italian Methodist Church  (now Holy Tabernacle Church)
Presentation:

  • Gerald Meyer: History of the Italian Methodist Church

Walk West to First Avenue:

Stop 12

2242 First Avenue (between 115th Street and 116th Street):

Giordano’s Funeral Home (now First Avenue Funeral Services)

Presentations:

  • Gerald Meyer: Vito Marcantonio’s Funeral
  • Gerald Meyer: Gesture towards and brief mention of elementary school that Marcantonio attended on First Avenue and 117 Street PS 85

Walk East To:

Stop 13

280 Pleasant Avenue (115th Street):

Benjamin Franklin High School

(now Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics)

Presentations:

  • Adam Meyer: Emcee
  • Gerald Meyer: History of Benjamin Franklin High School (including the Sinatra Incident)
  • LuLu LoLo Pascale as Leonard Covello: reading a portion of The Heart is the Teacher where Covello discusses importance of preserving language of origin
  • LuLu LoLu Pascale/Roberto Ragone: Dramatizations Covello Reflections on Marcantonio from The Heart is the Teacher
  • Roberto Ragone: Marcantonio’s speech at the opening of Ben Franklin HS
  • CONCLUSION:

Stop 14

East 115th Street (between First and Pleasant Avenues):

Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Church

  • QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
  • Quiet Reflection on the Life and Legacy of Vito Marcantonio

Signage

Rita Barakos: Signage – about 7-8 signs, about four double-sided with slogans in English and Italian or English and Spanish

  • Rita to confirm the number of signs with Gerald
  • Rita to enlist assistance of Gil and Maria
  • Rita to enlist assistance of Lisette
  • Sample Signs
    • Champion of the People
    • Coalition Builder
    • Defender of Human Rights
    • Remember Marcantonio

Audio/Microphones

  • Maria, Gerald, Dave, and Adam to discuss (phone or email) the type of microphones to use for the event and sound projection. For example,
    • Wireless, portable microphone
    • Microphone close to your mouth with speaker around your belt like the tour guides.

Submitted by: Roberto Ragone