Generally Speaking: REMEMBERING JOHN LACORTE

July 7, 2011 Theodore W. General
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At the invitation of the Brooklyn-based Italian HistoricalSociety of America, we traveled to our nation’s capital to view inperson the 51st annual commemoration ceremony in memory of CharlesJ. Bonaparte, the first Italian-American to serve as U.S .attorneygeneral and founder of the F.B.I. The program — which wassponsored by the society and the U.S. Justice Department — washeld inside the Robert F. Kennedy Building on PennsylvaniaAvenue.

Francesco Isgro, senior litigation counsel for the JusticeDepartment, emceed the proceedings. The National Anthem was sung byNina Di Gregorio, president of the Italian Opera Company whichoften has performances in Dyker Heights. Benjamin Togati, also ofthe opera company, sang the Italian national anthem. Welcomingremarks were presented by John Di Cicco, principal deputy assistantattorney general and by Dr. John J. LaCorte, Jr., president of theItalian Historical Society. The keynote speech was delivered byLuca Scognamillo, Italian national police liaison for the ItalianEmbassy.

Then, Bay Ridge film maker Tony De Nonno showed the documentary,John N. LaCorte: A Monument to History, which he had produced asa tribute to the late John LaCorte, founder and past president ofthe society.

LaCorte is credited with almost single-handedly having thebridge from Bay Ridge to Staten Island named for Italian explorerGiovanni da Verrazano. When it opened in 1964, it was the longestsuspension bridge in the world. Through his strong lobbying effortswith members of Congress, LaCorte was also was instrumental ingetting Columbus Day recognized as a national holiday. Throughextensive research, LaCorte was also able to determine that AntonioMeucci, was the true inventor of the telephone.

Back in 1961, the Italian Historical Society presented theJustice Department with a monument to Bonaparte that was installedin the RFK Building. A few years later, LaCorte and the societyparticipated in ceremonies where the auditorium in the FBI buildingwas dedicated in memory of Bonaparte. Bonaparte also served asSecretary of the Navy in the Theodore Roosevelt administration.

Joining us for the program in Washington were fellow BayRidgeites Sherman Silverman from the Society of Old Brooklynites,Theresa Rosen, executive secretary of the Italian HistoricalSociety and Joseph Sbarra, the treasurer of the Bay Ridge CommunityCouncil.

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A hearty salute to Chip Cafiero and Frankie Marra for puttingtogether the fourth annual Greater Bay Ridge Picnic. We spent partof our day listening to the music and watching friends and familieshaving a really good time. Also met the new commander of the 68thPrecinct, Captain Richard DiBlasio, who was making the rounds withCommunity Affairs Officers, Sergeant John Strype and AnthonyCurran. We had the opportunity of introducing the new C.O. to past68th Precinct Community Council President Anthony Formica andcurrent 62nd Precinct Community Council President Lou Trimboli.

We recently had dinner at the Greenhouse Café and came to watchand see a terrific rock ‘n’ roll set by the Whippoorwill Bandfeaturing Bay Ridge Community Council Civic Award Winner PaulCassone, New York State Court of Appeals Justice Matt D’Emic andJohn LePore. When we arrived Community Board 10 Chair JoanneSeminara was on stage belting out A Teenager in Love. LookoutLady Gaga!

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Three members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club — PresidentGlenn Nocera, a past GOP candidate for the State Senate and an NYPDauxiliary sergeant; past President Jonathan Judge, a past GOPcandidate for the City Council and a former corresponding secretaryfor the Bay Ridge Community Council; and Vice President DanielNizza, a City University security officer — recently took a ridein TV’s Cash Cab and came out $400 richer.

Cash Cab is basically a rolling quiz show, hosted by comedianBen Bailey and telecast over the Discovery Channel. Bailey who isalso a licensed New York cabbie, cruises the streets of Manhattan,picking up potential fares to serve also as contestants on thepopular game show that won several TV Emmys. When Bailey asked theBYRC trio whether they wanted to play double or nothing near theend of their ride, they all declined.

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Three cheers for another successful Bay Ridge Relay for Lifewhich includes participants from Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton andBensonhurst. The 13th annual Relay was held on June 18th at theFort Hamilton High School Athletic Field. This year’s event raised$89,531. Forty seven teams and 314 participants joined this effortto help fight cancer. The 2011 top team was Murphy’s Gang #1 headedby Betty Bonura, which collected and donated $13,128.

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The New York Naval Militia is currently celebrating its 120thanniversary. Locally, Bay Ridger John Ingram, a New York StateSupreme Court judge, is also an admiral and deputy commander of theNaval Militia, which includes reservists from the Navy, MarineCorps and Coast Guard. The militia also has a fleet of high-speedpatrol craft known as the New York State Military Emergency BoatService.


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