Welcome to the world of Vito Marcantonio who briefly lived in the Bronx at Congressman (later Mayor) Fiorello LaGuadia’s Bronx apartment when he was a NYU law student and is laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery. Bronx River Sankofa discovered this New Deal-era Congressman as a Bronx story when our very first post on this page was published. Congressman Marcantonio was a mentor to Evelina Antonetty whose best known for founding United Bronx Parents. His legacy demands to be revisited as one who cared about issues that have re-surfaced in modern times–immigration, utility affordability, working-class housing, need-over-greed-policy, civil rights, police brutality, etc.
Note: Where page numbers appear, they refer to illuminating facts from Gerald Meyer’s book Vito Marcantonio: radical politician, 1902-1954 unless attributed to another source. Learn more about this important 20th-Century legislator at the Vito Marcantonio Forum.
Vito Marcantonio’s Major Political/ Civic Landmarks
A. Lucky Corner 116th Street and Lexington Avenue, where massive election-eve rallies were held. 15,000 rallied here for Marcantonio in 1948 (p.39).
B. Marc’s district office/ Fiorello LaGuardia Political Association (later Vito Marcantonio Political Association) 247 East 116 Street (now a dentist office).
C. Madison Square Garden (where it stood before the current one) 8th Avenue between 50th and 49th Streets. He rallied with workers there in 1935 (p.25), and was the main attraction in 1948 (p.39) for a campaign speech attended by 18,000.
D. Benjamin Franklin High School—since re-named more than once— 116th Street between Pleasant Avenue and the FDR Drive. One of Marcantonio’s primary mentors, Leonard Covello, was its founding principal. He spoke at its 1942 dedication (p.123).
E. Marc’s Yorkville district office (where his biographer, Annette T. Rubinstein, worked on his staff) 1484 First Avenue . In 1956, Rubinstein and associates (The Vito Marcantonio Memorial) edited and published I Vote My Conscience: debates, speeches and writings of Vito Marcantonio (1935-1950).
Imagining Neighborhood As Well As Early Life Beyond Italian Harlem
1. Marcantonio’s childhood home 325 E. 112th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues). This building was replaced by Thomas Jefferson Houses, a NYCHA development.
2. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church 448 East 116th Street, where Marc received a certificate of baptismal. He was not observant as an adult like his paternal grandmother who was very active there.
3. PS 85 @ 1st Avenue and East 117th Street where Salvatore John LaGumina’s Vito Marcantonio: The People’s Politician reports he attended elementary school on page 2.
4. Old DeWitt Clinton High School 899 10th Avenue. It is now Haaren Hall on the campus of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Marc graduated with the class of 1921 before attending law school at New York University.
5. Leonard Covello’s House, his primary mentor, 229 East 116 Street.
6. LaGuardia Memorial House (known as Haarlem House when Marc worked there) 307 East 116th Street. His wife Miriam Sanders worked there for many years too.
7. Marcantonio-Sanders House 231 East 116 Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues).
8. Fiorello LaGuardia’s Home, 5th Avenue and 109th Street, is an apartment building known as Stonehedge.
Where Marc Was Last Seen…and Still Rests
F. A massive heart attack overcame Marc on the East side of Broadway by City Hall
G. Giordano’s Funeral Home 1st Avenue and 115th Street (now http://www.firstavenuefuneral.com), where his well-attended wake took place. See p.183.
H. Woodlawn Cemetery Vito Marcantonio is buried in the Oakwood Section within 50 feet of his mentor, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. The grave site is on the west side of the hill near the intersection of Park Avenue and Myosotis Avenue.