On this week’s show we visit Belmont and the Arthur Avenue, Bronx’s famous Little Italy.
My guests will be Rediscovering New York regular Justin Rivers, Chief Experience Officer and Lead Tour Guide for Untapped New York, and Peter Madonia, owner of Madonia Brothers Bakery, and chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District.
Justin Rivers is the chief officer and lead tour guide for untapped New York. He started his career as a New York City Middle school English language art teacher. He drags his students To historic lesser-known parts across the city to help bring New York to life, he was a Player and producer of an off Broadway show called the eternal space that centered on the demolition of Pennsylvania station.This is what made him fall in love with untapped New York which he partnered with for his remnants of Penn station tour. Justin is also the founder of a nonprofit organization called character connection initiative. It is character education and mindfulness to the school curriculum
Justin takes us for a walk through Belmont also known as the Little Italy of the Bronx. It is the heart of the Bronx as it is in the middle of the botanical gardens and the Bronx zoo. The sue annoyed Native American Tribe Treated this area of the Bronx as their home base, but the tobacco industry is what really made Belmont popular for its rich soil and a perfect claimant to grow tobacco. The trains were another big change as it Brought with them more urban development, with that came the Italians and the pushcart culture. As the pandemic continues untapped New York adapted with its social distance tours, They also have taken a step in the virtual world as they now give virtual tours, Which has now given them a global audience.
Peter Madonia Is the third family owner of Madonia bakery on Arthur Avenue. Madonia is a staple on Arthur’s Avenue as it’s celebrated over 100 years of business. Peter is also the Chairman of the Belmont Business improvement District. Which works to advance the well-being Of local businesses in the community By promoting Little Italy and the Bronx brand it’s strong ethnic heritage And leadership in the culinary marketplace. Peter has a legacy of public service most recently He spent 12 years as the chief operating officer at The Rockefeller foundation. Prior to his work at the Rockefeller foundation he was chief of staff to mayor Michael Bloomberg from 2002 - 2006 and so much more.
Peter’s grandfather started the bakery during the 1918 pandemic. Peter had no interest in running the family business, So instead he ventured out for a career at City Hall,But after the passing of his brother he made the personal decision to return to the family business. Madonia has changed with the times but also stuck to their original recipes if you want to get a taste of New York go sink your teeth into Madonia bakery.
00:00:42.420 --> 00:00:51.390 Jeff Goodman: Hello everyone. Welcome to our listeners in the Big Apple from across the US and around the world. I'm Jeff Goodman and this is rediscovering New York
00:00:52.140 --> 00:01:02.340 Jeff Goodman: Professionally, I'm a real estate broker with brown hair Stevens and I love New York rediscovering New York as a weekly program about the history texture and vibe of our amazing city.
00:01:03.420 --> 00:01:12.210 Jeff Goodman: And we just don't listen to me. We do it through interviews with historians local business owners nonprofit organizations preservationists local musicians and artists.
00:01:12.750 --> 00:01:14.520 Jeff Goodman: And the occasional elected official
00:01:15.900 --> 00:01:24.930 Jeff Goodman: On some shows like tonight's we focus on an individual New York neighborhood we explore its history and its current energy. What makes that particular New York neighborhood special
00:01:25.860 --> 00:01:32.130 Jeff Goodman: And sometimes we host show is about an interesting and vital color of the city in its history. That's not focused on one particular neighborhood.
00:01:33.000 --> 00:01:44.820 Jeff Goodman: On prior episodes. You've heard us cover topics is diverse and illuminating as American presidents who came from lived in or had some interesting history here in New York, about half of them aside from the soon to be former president
00:01:45.780 --> 00:01:48.600 Jeff Goodman: The history of women activists and the women's suffrage movement in the city.
00:01:49.560 --> 00:01:57.840 Jeff Goodman: The history of different immigrant communities, including people who were brought here in slaved we talked about the history of the city's LGBT community, the gay rights movement.
00:01:58.500 --> 00:02:06.090 Jeff Goodman: We've explored the history of bicycles and cycling. They've been part of New York for more than 200 years we've looked at the history of punk and Opera.
00:02:06.870 --> 00:02:13.080 Jeff Goodman: We've looked at our public library systems systems. We have three only in New York. We have three public library systems.
00:02:13.560 --> 00:02:18.690 Jeff Goodman: We've explored the subway, some of our greatest train stations and even some of our bridges.
00:02:19.680 --> 00:02:30.330 Jeff Goodman: After the broadcast. You can access each show it's available on podcast. We're on Apple Spotify SoundCloud Stitcher and some other services that get our feed some which I really don't know about.
00:02:30.840 --> 00:02:39.510 Jeff Goodman: Tonight we're journeying back to the Bronx in a very special neighborhood. It's also known as the Little Italy of the Bronx and I am referring to
00:02:41.040 --> 00:02:50.520 Jeff Goodman: Arthur Avenue and Little Italy, I'm sorry, Arthur Avenue in Belmont Arthur Avenue is a street but a lot of people here, Arthur Avenue when they think of our revenue is a neighborhood, because it really is a locus.
00:02:50.820 --> 00:02:59.250 Jeff Goodman: Of a lot of urban energy in the neighborhood. My first guest is a rediscovering New York regular it's Justin rivers of untapped New York
00:02:59.940 --> 00:03:10.170 Jeff Goodman: Justin is the chief experience officer and lead tour guide for untapped New York. He started his career as New York City middle school and English language arts teacher on the Lower East Side.
00:03:10.770 --> 00:03:16.200 Jeff Goodman: He dragged his students to historic sites across the city, get an effort to bring the city's lesser known stories to life.
00:03:17.280 --> 00:03:22.230 Jeff Goodman: He became co creative, the wonder city. It's a graphic novel that reimagines New York City's entire history.
00:03:22.860 --> 00:03:29.550 Jeff Goodman: He was also the playwright and producer of the eternal space and off Broadway play that centered on the demolition of New York City's Pennsylvania station.
00:03:30.300 --> 00:03:38.100 Jeff Goodman: It was with this production in one simple tweet that he fell head over heels for untapped New York and he partnered with for his remnants of the Penn Station tour.
00:03:38.490 --> 00:03:42.000 Jeff Goodman: And I look forward to going on that when this pandemic is done.
00:03:42.960 --> 00:03:47.610 Jeff Goodman: Along with this role as chief experience officer Justin is the founding director of the character connection initiative.
00:03:48.030 --> 00:03:52.980 Jeff Goodman: It's a nonprofit organization that can next character education and mindfulness to middle school curricula.
00:03:53.730 --> 00:03:59.400 Jeff Goodman: He's also the creator and lead tour guide for some of untapped New York's most popular tours, including the underground tour of the subway.
00:03:59.880 --> 00:04:08.670 Jeff Goodman: The remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam, the secrets of the Brooklyn Bridge, the remnants of the World's Fair and flushing meadow, the secrets of Coney Island maritime history of New York.
00:04:09.150 --> 00:04:18.270 Jeff Goodman: The Hidden gems of Rafale cost of, you know, tour and the art in the New York City subway walking tour, Justin, a very warm welcome back to rediscovering New York
00:04:18.630 --> 00:04:21.720 Untapped New York: Hi Jeff always thrilled to be here. Happy New Year.
00:04:22.050 --> 00:04:24.840 Jeff Goodman: Happy New Year to you too happy or unhealthy for all of us.
00:04:25.020 --> 00:04:26.520 Jeff Goodman: Yes, for sure. All our listeners.
00:04:27.390 --> 00:04:30.030 Jeff Goodman: You're originally from the New York area but not from the city.
00:04:30.750 --> 00:04:39.810 Untapped New York: No, no, no. I'm from Jersey. I grew up my family was from Hackensack and then I grew up until I was in high school in northern New Jersey.
00:04:40.290 --> 00:04:50.040 Untapped New York: And a town called Ringwood to head and then went to Fordham University in the Bronx. Part of the reason why I'm here tonight and never came back. I've been in New York, ever since.
00:04:51.480 --> 00:05:04.950 Jeff Goodman: What was it about your career path that led you to decide that you would take up the torch, maybe, pun intended to eliminate New York and the best of it in the tours that you not only lead but that you've also created and branded
00:05:06.000 --> 00:05:12.210 Untapped New York: It was it's all goes back to educating I came out of Fordham as a teacher. I worked at a Catholic school in the Lower East Side.
00:05:12.720 --> 00:05:18.060 Untapped New York: And my kids. Lower East Side kids, mainly from the projects down there hated history they hated social studies and
00:05:18.570 --> 00:05:24.690 Untapped New York: I said, Guys, we live in the most history dense neighborhood in New York. Let's get out and see this stuff.
00:05:25.410 --> 00:05:41.190 Untapped New York: So I took them down to Bowling Green and let them literally touch history. And that was what and and I saw the conversion and the reaction. And I said, Ooh, I like this. It just so happened adults like it even more. And it's a lot more fun. So I ended up that's how my career started
00:05:43.320 --> 00:05:47.940 Jeff Goodman: And speaking of Fordham and Belmont and Arthur Avenue. Let's go right to it.
00:05:48.570 --> 00:05:49.080 Jeff Goodman: Let's do it.
00:05:49.230 --> 00:06:00.660 Jeff Goodman: A lot of our listeners. I'm sure you've heard of Arthur Avenue and some of them have heard of Belmont, but I'm sure even some who have heard about the Little Italy. The Bronx really don't know where it is, where is it actually in the Bronx.
00:06:01.140 --> 00:06:08.790 Untapped New York: Well, I always, I like to say Belmont is like the beating heart of the Bronx, because it's right in the middle of the Bronx. It's surrounded by
00:06:09.300 --> 00:06:22.290 Untapped New York: Quite a few of the Bronx most coveted attractions, like the Botanical Gardens well Fordham University for me. The Bronx Zoo, they all sort of orbit around the Belmont right southeast Fordham road.
00:06:23.310 --> 00:06:30.930 Untapped New York: You can take the metro North right up there from Grand Central and be there in 90 minutes so it's it's directly in the middle of the Bronx.
00:06:32.190 --> 00:06:33.720 Untapped New York: And a really great place to go.
00:06:34.650 --> 00:06:39.660 Jeff Goodman: And unlike most other places we've had you on the show to talk about. You have a lot of personal history and Belmont.
00:06:40.500 --> 00:06:52.350 Untapped New York: I do. I've lived there. This is, you know, I've lived in Windsor terrorists now in Brooklyn. For almost 22 years but this is the only other neighborhood. We've spoken about that I've actually lived in. So I'm really excited.
00:06:54.150 --> 00:06:54.990 Untapped New York: About talking about it.
00:06:56.010 --> 00:06:58.230 Jeff Goodman: What was your favorite part about living in Belmont.
00:06:59.820 --> 00:07:14.820 Untapped New York: I grew up in New Jersey in a very, very traditional Italian family, which I know from people who look at me. I have a very Anglo features. And my last name is river so everyone's like, What are you talking about, but I am mostly Italian
00:07:15.870 --> 00:07:27.450 Untapped New York: And when I went to Fordham my mother was petrified to send me to the Bronx. And when we got to Fordham and we got to Arthur avenue for the first time, my mother felt good. She was like, Ah, OK.
00:07:27.930 --> 00:07:33.420 Untapped New York: Because she felt like she was like, almost leaving me with family. So, um, and that's what it felt like for me.
00:07:33.990 --> 00:07:43.680 Untapped New York: I was one of the few people on my campus. I knew that went to Arthur Avenue Belmont daily. I did. I was like a little Italian later did my food shopping every day over there.
00:07:44.010 --> 00:07:51.180 Untapped New York: I got my haircut on at Anthony's which was, you know, sort of the, I think Anthony's I hope it's still open. I'm not sure, but I'm
00:07:52.170 --> 00:07:55.020 Jeff Goodman: A second nodding yes, who said, Okay, good.
00:07:55.080 --> 00:08:05.700 Untapped New York: I'm so glad I love Anthony JUNE JUNE us to cut my hair, I mean the end this is it. I knew all of these people I you know for four and a half years they were part of my daily routine.
00:08:06.060 --> 00:08:14.100 Untapped New York: And that's what I learned. And they took me in. It was one of those things where it was like it within minutes. I felt at home. So that's what I love so much about the neighborhood.
00:08:15.270 --> 00:08:19.980 Jeff Goodman: And we're going to talk more about recent happenings in the neighborhood with our second guest, a little bit later in the show.
00:08:20.460 --> 00:08:36.060 Jeff Goodman: Um, let's go to the history of of what would become Belmont on the monopoly people live around New Amsterdam did did local monopoly live in the area that would become delmon today. Today, who thinks they were, was it not just not populated.
00:08:36.480 --> 00:08:48.660 Untapped New York: Yeah. Well, I mean, so when I be people were nomadic and so Manhattan was a seasonal training ground for them and they would go down to Manhattan, because of the waterways in the spring and summer and of course in the fall in the winter, they'd go north
00:08:49.260 --> 00:08:55.410 Untapped New York: And one of the tribes that really called the Bronx in that section of the Bronx home was the solenoid tribe.
00:08:56.130 --> 00:09:02.250 Untapped New York: And they treated it more as a home base for them, but they they didn't have an
00:09:02.550 --> 00:09:15.990 Untapped New York: Overwhelmingly large presence and when the Dutch came in and the 1630s, the Dutch didn't have a lot of interest in the Bronx. They kept pretty much either up to the Albany area or down to Manhattan in New Amsterdam.
00:09:16.710 --> 00:09:26.310 Untapped New York: So the Bronx was sort of a piecemeal of different European immigrants who came in to settle, including the reason why we have the name of the bronze, because in
00:09:27.330 --> 00:09:37.590 Untapped New York: 1640 I believe a Swede by the name of Jonas, Jonas and Bronk bought 500 acres up there and started the first European settlement.
00:09:38.760 --> 00:09:40.110 Untapped New York: And there it is.
00:09:41.610 --> 00:09:47.910 Jeff Goodman: What records do we have, what, what was the first settlement activity in what would become Belmont.
00:09:49.410 --> 00:09:49.800 Untapped New York: So,
00:09:50.250 --> 00:09:54.150 Jeff Goodman: With a farm. The farm soon. And then, who was there.
00:09:54.180 --> 00:10:03.330 Untapped New York: It was rich. It was actually a rich soil and farmland. It was a beautiful bucolic area and there was a French Huguenot by the name of pure lorillard
00:10:03.750 --> 00:10:16.110 Untapped New York: Who came over in the 1760s right before the revolution and started a tobacco shop basically tobacco production and snuff. He was the first guy in the new world I of North America, probably
00:10:16.920 --> 00:10:21.630 Untapped New York: To introduce snuff, which is you know inhalable tobacco. For those of you who don't know,
00:10:22.050 --> 00:10:35.610 Untapped New York: Um, and he was very successful at it problem was during the Revolution, he was murdered by German Hessian so his son, Pierre Peter lorillard decided he was going to get the family out of Manhattan and move them North
00:10:36.450 --> 00:10:47.910 Untapped New York: And they bought a large tract of land up in the what we know today is the Belmont area and they named that tract of land Belmont, which translates from the Latin beautiful mountain
00:10:49.290 --> 00:10:58.980 Untapped New York: And I know I think we're going to talk about this. But there's a lot of confusion because there is a famous New York family, known as the bell months, but it has nothing to do
00:10:59.640 --> 00:11:10.500 Untapped New York: With the neighborhood and peer son peer. The second continued the family business started at tobacco farm in the area and was extremely successful.
00:11:13.200 --> 00:11:22.950 Jeff Goodman: Is the is that because the, the climate of the soil was especially good for tobacco, you kind of think of tobacco being in the South in Virginia, North Carolina.
00:11:24.930 --> 00:11:38.850 Untapped New York: This is actually one of New York's not even the Bronx. But New York's dirty secrets is our soil and our climate is actually pretty good for growing tobacco, the Dutch started small tobacco farms in Greenwich actually Greenwich Village started out as a tobacco farm as well.
00:11:39.450 --> 00:11:50.640 Untapped New York: So we, we just have a more temperate climate when it's warmer here for tobacco and the liberal arts were very successful at growing tobacco HERE THEY DID IT FOR GENERATIONS was not a failed prospect.
00:11:51.660 --> 00:11:59.220 Untapped New York: For almost 100 years they had a successful tobacco farm in the Belmont area. A lot of which was given to the Botanical Gardens.
00:12:00.390 --> 00:12:05.760 Jeff Goodman: I've heard the phrase bandied about all of Belmont and a pack of new more in a pack of new ports. Where does that come from.
00:12:06.630 --> 00:12:10.470 Untapped New York: So, because when you buy a pack and reports, you're actually buying a piece of Belmont.
00:12:11.640 --> 00:12:19.800 Untapped New York: Just which is, you know, I always loved. I had a bunch of I did not smoking college, but I did theater. So, and a bunch of friends with it and we would go
00:12:20.280 --> 00:12:26.520 Untapped New York: There were there was a gas station on the sport and road right at the mouth of Arthur Avenue, where they go get their
00:12:27.210 --> 00:12:33.600 Untapped New York: Cigarettes and every time I had a friend who smoke Newport's and I always said you know all the Belmont in a pack and new reports and they just looked at me like you're such a nerd.
00:12:34.260 --> 00:12:35.070 Untapped New York: But the
00:12:35.520 --> 00:12:49.050 Untapped New York: lorillard family tobacco company continued in the area until I believe it was the 1870s, they moved their productions to New Jersey, but the company kept going until the 1960s and then became part of blows.
00:12:49.830 --> 00:13:03.450 Untapped New York: Corporation. I believe it's called the lowest Corporation, which produces Newport's so new ports if, for those of you who know cigarettes are a direct lineage back to Belmont and the lorillard family.
00:13:03.690 --> 00:13:09.840 Jeff Goodman: Hmm. The fact direct descendant appear lorillard was the richest woman in the United States for a while.
00:13:10.800 --> 00:13:19.170 Untapped New York: Yes, Catherine so was her his great granddaughter, who, after he died inherited the entire farm in the state.
00:13:19.800 --> 00:13:38.340 Untapped New York: Which was very, very large. And she started selling off tracts of land to develop what would become the Belmont neighborhood and also the botanic gardens and parts of Fordham as well. But she was the richest woman in America at the time she inherited that land around 1870
00:13:38.940 --> 00:13:46.620 Jeff Goodman: We're going to take a break in a minute. She was responsible actually for naming of a number of streets in the area, including the famous Arthur Avenue.
00:13:47.100 --> 00:14:04.020 Untapped New York: Correct, yes, she she was a big fan of President Chester A. Arthur and so she wanted to give a little prestige, the new neighborhood by naming it after him and the other streets also have ties as well to some famous people and
00:14:04.800 --> 00:14:08.160 Jeff Goodman: And there's still some of the old lorillard mentioned that survives in Belmont.
00:14:08.790 --> 00:14:19.860 Untapped New York: Yeah. A lot of people don't know that the lorillard mansion became St. Barnabas and of course they've added on to it quite a bit, but there are remnants of the old mansion in St. Barnabas
00:14:21.150 --> 00:14:22.710 Untapped New York: Hospital in Belmont.
00:14:23.430 --> 00:14:24.570 Jeff Goodman: And you can see it today.
00:14:24.930 --> 00:14:33.660 Jeff Goodman: Well, we're gonna take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our show on Belmont and Arthur Avenue. The Little Italy of the Bronx. We'll be back in a moment.
00:16:58.800 --> 00:17:07.590 Jeff Goodman: We're back, you're back to rediscovering New York and episode 97 can't believe this is episode 97 it's almost 100 episodes left to have some kind of a
00:17:08.010 --> 00:17:17.400 Jeff Goodman: Centenary celebration for 100 and a couple of weeks. This show is on Belmont and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx also affectionately well known as the Little Italy of the Bronx.
00:17:17.730 --> 00:17:20.880 Jeff Goodman: My first guest is Justin reverse Justin is the chief tour guide.
00:17:21.510 --> 00:17:33.780 Jeff Goodman: And lead and sorry lead tour guide and chief experience Officer of untapped New York Justin I know these are tough times, being in the business that you are, what kind of programming is untapped New York making available to people online these days.
00:17:35.400 --> 00:17:41.430 Untapped New York: Well, we have the gun, once again, to give socially distanced
00:17:42.510 --> 00:17:57.720 Untapped New York: In person tours mainly outside. So we've tried to bring back in person within reason, and obviously completely safe, but mainly what we did as coven hit was we transferred. Most of our programming to virtual programming.
00:17:58.500 --> 00:18:07.440 Untapped New York: Through our insiders program. And so we offer two to three tours and talks a week through the insiders all about you know the secrets and hidden gems of New York and
00:18:07.680 --> 00:18:20.580 Untapped New York: The response has been great. We now have a global audience, which we did not before coven. It was all New Yorkers. And now we have people from Brazil from London from all over who are joining us as part of the programs. It's been actually very gratifying and nice.
00:18:20.940 --> 00:18:24.870 Jeff Goodman: Well, that's great. Well, I've been a proud insider of untapped New York, even before coven
00:18:25.230 --> 00:18:27.900 Untapped New York: And so I you are one of the originals. I love
00:18:27.930 --> 00:18:38.730 Jeff Goodman: I love getting your email and I haven't been able to take advantage of much of your programming, but it's there in my heart, and obviously I bring it to life with you on when you when you come on the show. Thank you. I'm
00:18:39.390 --> 00:18:49.350 Jeff Goodman: Getting back to Belmont, when would the neighborhood that we see today begin to physically look like what we have today when when when would it be familiar to people.
00:18:49.890 --> 00:19:00.150 Untapped New York: So I think that the Bronx that people know and love today, it started. Once the train Scott up that way you know we have a large influx of immigration coming in from Europe.
00:19:00.630 --> 00:19:07.740 Untapped New York: And at first, the areas kind of Irish because Fordham was a big Catholic stronghold. And it attracted a lot of of the Irish
00:19:08.280 --> 00:19:25.830 Untapped New York: In the area. But then what happens in the early 20th century is the trains spurn on more urban development and then the Italians come in full force to New York and sort of move north up to, to the Bronx and it becomes a real Italian stronghold 19 early 1900s 19 teens.
00:19:26.250 --> 00:19:36.630 Jeff Goodman: Hmm, you know one thing about people coming as immigrants from different cultures is that they derive a lot of their empowerment and sometimes their joy of living by being around people who were familiar to them hearing the languages.
00:19:36.840 --> 00:19:41.250 Jeff Goodman: Even people who were from that part that's, you know, a particular village.
00:19:42.030 --> 00:19:49.470 Jeff Goodman: There were other Italian immigrant enclaves in the city before Belmont North revenue became what we know is the Little Italy. The Bronx, including
00:19:49.800 --> 00:19:54.210 Jeff Goodman: Little Italy in lower Manhattan, which is where my ancestors are from where where they settled.
00:19:54.630 --> 00:20:03.990 Jeff Goodman: And also East Harlem around pleasant Avenue, which a lot of people don't realize was another Little Italy, actually the there were more Italian immigrants living in East Harlem than the word little, little, you know, Manhattan.
00:20:04.650 --> 00:20:08.850 Jeff Goodman: Why did Italian immigrants settle in Belmont. What was it that brought them up there.
00:20:10.110 --> 00:20:21.090 Untapped New York: So a lot of people don't recognize, you know, when you think of push carts and the pushcart culture of the early 20th century. I think the lower east side because the Lower East Side is so synonymous with German and Jewish immigrants.
00:20:21.540 --> 00:20:31.680 Untapped New York: On Orchard Street and and doing all that. But there was a huge push car culture in Belmont and on in Little Italy up there on what becomes a literally
00:20:32.940 --> 00:20:42.630 Untapped New York: push carts were a very easy, cheap way to get into retail business for immigrants, they could easily get a cart, they could sell their wares.
00:20:42.960 --> 00:21:00.240 Untapped New York: And once they're aligned in a neighborhood they become a staple of that neighborhood on their street and that happened so quickly up in Belmont, that it's advertised, I believe it's early as 1913 they start calling the area, the Italian colony. And of course, Italians coming over.
00:21:01.260 --> 00:21:07.320 Untapped New York: From Italy want to go, as you said, to where their people are especially if they're from certain regions.
00:21:07.800 --> 00:21:14.880 Untapped New York: And as matter of fact both sides of my family came from different parts of Italy, but the the Sicilian side of my family.
00:21:15.300 --> 00:21:27.300 Untapped New York: Almost went to Belmont and Arthur Avenue, but my great grandfather had a brother who came over before Him who actually found work in Jersey, and that's how we ended up in Jersey. I mean, that's how these stories, you know, that's how they unfold.
00:21:27.720 --> 00:21:34.770 Untapped New York: So, but, but, Arthur Avenue and Belmont became a Nexus in the 19 teens because of that pushcart culture.
00:21:36.120 --> 00:21:38.430 Jeff Goodman: And the predominance of pushcarts actually
00:21:40.440 --> 00:21:45.960 Jeff Goodman: Were there much later than in other parts of the city, you know, into the middle part of the 20th century.
00:21:46.470 --> 00:21:55.320 Untapped New York: Yeah, Manhattan banned them pretty because of the the street crowding in the early 20th century, but in the Bronx. It went on until 19 almost 1940
00:21:56.070 --> 00:21:56.970 Untapped New York: It was still going on.
00:21:57.330 --> 00:22:00.570 Jeff Goodman: And what was it that that changed the the pushcart culture.
00:22:00.990 --> 00:22:08.640 Untapped New York: Well, the Italian himself the little flower little a little LaGuardia decided that he wanted to
00:22:09.450 --> 00:22:19.950 Untapped New York: Sort of give the Italian immigrants and the Italian neighborhoods, the opportunity to continue to make money, but he created the Arthur Avenue retail market, which for anybody who knows, Arthur Avenue, who lives in the area, sort of,
00:22:20.220 --> 00:22:26.850 Untapped New York: Again, the beating heart of the beating heart. It's one of my favorite places to even to this day, I still go to Mike's and
00:22:27.900 --> 00:22:40.650 Untapped New York: But he created it again as a way to push everybody inside, but to give them, you know, cheap stalls. They didn't he didn't, you know, KILL THEM ON THE RENT. AND IT WAS ABLE they were able to continue the culture in the neighborhood.
00:22:41.640 --> 00:22:51.960 Jeff Goodman: Well, speaking of culture, we had some popular culture in the in the 1950s that either came out of a Belmont North Avenue were actually depicted it Deanna the Belmont.
00:22:52.140 --> 00:22:53.430 Jeff Goodman: Developed. Yes. Right. That's
00:22:54.600 --> 00:22:55.410 Untapped New York: So it might
00:22:56.070 --> 00:22:57.630 Jeff Goodman: Be a teenager in love, you know,
00:22:57.810 --> 00:23:02.220 Jeff Goodman: People may not have heard, I remember that song. I was going after it came out, but my parents listened to it.
00:23:04.020 --> 00:23:10.080 Untapped New York: Yeah, no idea on and the Belmont. Well now you know why they're called the bell months because that's where they came from and
00:23:10.470 --> 00:23:16.530 Untapped New York: You know, these were not just regional hit these weren't like global hits that Dion had and it was sort of
00:23:17.160 --> 00:23:25.290 Untapped New York: A little piece of popular culture that came straight from Little Italy and Deon actually broke away from the Belmont and he went on his own Dr mucci
00:23:25.710 --> 00:23:31.890 Untapped New York: And then two of my favorite. You know, when I was a kid going to dances at school. They always used to play these throwback songs and
00:23:32.220 --> 00:23:46.740 Untapped New York: Two of my favorites were always run around two and the wonder. They're just great. You're great songs and they were both is so there's so much of that and BELMONT AS WELL. And then of course it's burns on two movies and, you know, it's still being depicted today. In popular culture.
00:23:47.400 --> 00:23:52.380 Jeff Goodman: Well I, I don't know that it's one of my favorite movies. But I think it's a really fine movie Marty with Ernest Borgnine and that
00:23:52.770 --> 00:23:54.810 Jeff Goodman: Takes place that takes place right on North Avenue.
00:23:55.110 --> 00:23:56.550 Jeff Goodman: That the butcher shop where he works.
00:23:57.930 --> 00:24:00.300 Jeff Goodman: What I see it. I try to locate it and go, where is that, you know,
00:24:01.110 --> 00:24:07.050 Jeff Goodman: It might have been in the studio and not on location when they were in it but you know the street scene clearly or or Arthur Avenue.
00:24:07.680 --> 00:24:13.560 Untapped New York: Yeah, and of course the Bronx Tale to when I was at Fordham that movie came out and that was huge. So
00:24:14.580 --> 00:24:20.550 Jeff Goodman: I want to ask you about the Third Avenue. Well, because the Third Avenue. Well, which originally went up. Third Avenue in Manhattan and then across
00:24:20.940 --> 00:24:30.360 Jeff Goodman: The Harlem River into the Bronx and it did go up to to Belmont. That was still around. When I was growing up, except when I was growing up, it was known as the a trade, the number eight train
00:24:30.990 --> 00:24:45.390 Jeff Goodman: Um, why I've always wondered why they decided, you know, the Third Avenue l went by the wayside. I think in the 50s, but the the Third Avenue. Well, and in the Bronx was there until the 70s. Do we know why. Do you know why they got rid of it and why they took it down.
00:24:46.620 --> 00:24:54.660 Untapped New York: I mean, so the Third Avenue was sort of an extension of what was going on in Manhattan. They got rid of that in the 50s because of our
00:24:54.870 --> 00:25:01.170 Untapped New York: They wanted to clear up the avenues, but they weren't really concerned about clearing up the avenues in the Bronx until urban density
00:25:01.770 --> 00:25:10.050 Untapped New York: And also blight and depression in the Bronx sort of made it necessary to get rid of it. They couldn't maintain it. And I think that one of the reasons why.
00:25:10.860 --> 00:25:25.470 Untapped New York: They decided to get rid of it was to try to improve the system in the Bronx, you know, and of course we saw before, like when you know the forest still elevated up in the Bronx in that area a little further up but everything else moved underground with the end systems.
00:25:25.980 --> 00:25:35.730 Jeff Goodman: I mean, this next question might be more appropriate for a transportation episode. But I wonder what they thought could take the place of the Third Avenue. Well, because it's significantly east of Jerome Avenue, where the for trainers.
00:25:36.540 --> 00:25:47.040 Untapped New York: Ya know, it is. And it's one of those things where that area was very difficult. Even when I lived there to get good subway service. You've got great metro North connection right at the corner of East Fordham road.
00:25:48.000 --> 00:25:58.200 Untapped New York: And and Webster, but they're, you know, to get to the D. You gotta walk all the way up to the Grand Concourse and then go even further to get to the fore.
00:25:58.440 --> 00:26:15.570 Untapped New York: And I remember when I used to need to get before I'd be like, oh god, I'd have to get on the 24th go all the way up, but oh god it was you know it is. So it's we feel the midst of that in Manhattan with the lack of a second avenue line and it went all the way up to the Bronx with
00:26:18.120 --> 00:26:26.550 Jeff Goodman: This part of the Bronx, like many parts of the city, sadly, went into decline in the 1970s, when did Belmont begin to become revitalized
00:26:27.900 --> 00:26:29.970 Jeff Goodman: It was when you were there when you went to Fordham and then
00:26:31.530 --> 00:26:43.380 Untapped New York: I have a theory. I actually. And again, your second guests can either confirm or deny this theory I think Belmont has actually maintained its character, more so than any other
00:26:44.340 --> 00:26:58.710 Untapped New York: Neighborhood maybe save Riverdale in the Bronx, where, you know, it was one of those things in the early 90s when I was looking at colleges and you know the Bronx, you know, we got to Belmont and Belmont just felt safe.
00:26:59.760 --> 00:27:13.560 Untapped New York: Even as other neighborhoods still in the Bronx. Didn't you know I think every neighborhood in the Bronx, had a rough time in the 70s and 80s, but you know we were still I was still renting apartments from 95 year old women you know and Belmont, who never left the Italian
00:27:15.060 --> 00:27:24.960 Untapped New York: sort of framework and fabric of the neighborhood didn't change which kept Belmont pretty much in a little bubble. I think that's, that's my. That is my theory. And of course,
00:27:26.400 --> 00:27:36.210 Untapped New York: Your second guess can can add to that, because I had, I had a limited time. But you know, I do think one of the things I noticed that change from my time there to say
00:27:36.780 --> 00:27:42.180 Untapped New York: You know 10 years ago and even up to current times was, you know, Arthur Avenue during Christmas time.
00:27:42.810 --> 00:27:53.580 Untapped New York: Say you saw all of the West Chester all the Jersey plates coming in to get all their stuff for Christmas. And, you know, there'd be a long parade down Arthur Avenue and everybody's going to get their stuff and then it was basically back to
00:27:53.970 --> 00:28:02.400 Untapped New York: You know the neighborhood and the people in the Bronx in the forum kids. I went up there to celebrate a 40th birthday, and one of my friends at Roberto's last year.
00:28:03.180 --> 00:28:15.150 Untapped New York: Saturday night. It was jam packed with, you know, Uber's and yellow cabs and, you know, Arthur Avenue and Little Italy and in the Bronx sort of really steps into the scene.
00:28:16.050 --> 00:28:21.690 Untapped New York: In the 21st century, as a destination for New York, and that was that was different because you know
00:28:21.930 --> 00:28:30.630 Untapped New York: In the 90s and early aughts you told people, you were going up to Little Italy and they said, well done a little Italy's, you know, Mount St. It's like, no, no, no, you're going to the Bronx and now it's, you know,
00:28:31.050 --> 00:28:42.690 Untapped New York: I it's it's still pretty good secret, but I don't know if it's the best kept secret anymore. There's been a lot more tourism, there's been you know a lot more recognition. So, and that of course improves the neighborhood.
00:28:43.620 --> 00:28:51.330 Jeff Goodman: Well, speaking of it being the most vital Little Italy in the city. Now we have about a minute left, Justin. I want to ask you about fit Agosto and the feast of the Blessed Virgin.
00:28:51.720 --> 00:28:52.290 Untapped New York: You want to talk about
00:28:52.320 --> 00:28:52.890 Jeff Goodman: That for a minute.
00:28:53.070 --> 00:28:59.310 Untapped New York: So forgiveness is interesting because it actually dates back to the Romans. And it's, it was a, you know, Augustus Caesar.
00:28:59.730 --> 00:29:09.450 Untapped New York: Created this feast day to celebrate his I believe it was his defeat of Marc Anthony and it was sort of like almost like a mini Christmas because it was very
00:29:10.050 --> 00:29:20.430 Untapped New York: It was a celebration everybody took off. Everybody feasted everybody partied and a lot of Italian Americans don't know anything about it, and the rest of the country, but it's it's very much alive and well and
00:29:21.090 --> 00:29:24.450 Untapped New York: As I think I said to you in my email, you know, when I was a
00:29:24.960 --> 00:29:31.530 Untapped New York: When I was going to Fordham it's August 15 that was a big day on Arthur Avenue, your party you didn't. You didn't. You didn't. You didn't but it
00:29:31.830 --> 00:29:44.640 Untapped New York: As many Italian holidays or Roman holidays like Saturnalia when the Catholic Church takes over. You've got a sort of replace it with a Catholic holiday. So it is a it is celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
00:29:45.480 --> 00:29:47.400 Untapped New York: Same thing. I think that
00:29:47.430 --> 00:29:49.620 Jeff Goodman: That's the origin of Mardi Gras to
00:29:50.190 --> 00:29:50.520 Untapped New York: Turn
00:29:50.550 --> 00:29:51.630 Jeff Goodman: The feast before
00:29:53.220 --> 00:29:57.000 Jeff Goodman: Before lent it actually was the feast of the Looper cow in Roman times.
00:29:57.390 --> 00:29:57.630 Jeff Goodman: Right.
00:29:57.660 --> 00:30:00.630 Jeff Goodman: Justin is always the time goes by so fast.
00:30:00.720 --> 00:30:02.640 Untapped New York: I like it rapidly Jeff when
00:30:02.820 --> 00:30:04.200 Untapped New York: When did it become a half hour.
00:30:05.100 --> 00:30:08.430 Jeff Goodman: Exactly. Well, you'll be back on the show. Again, I'm sure.
00:30:08.640 --> 00:30:09.450 Untapped New York: Yeah, beer.
00:30:09.660 --> 00:30:10.170 Jeff Goodman: Yeah.
00:30:11.100 --> 00:30:24.360 Jeff Goodman: My first guest on this episode on Belmont North revenue is Justin rivers Justin is the chief experience officer and lead tour guide and untapped New York, which by the way is a www dot untapped cities.com
00:30:24.570 --> 00:30:38.610 Jeff Goodman: Not untapped New York. We're going to take a short break when we come back we're going to speak with our second guest whose family has a long history on Arthur Avenue and who also is spearheading some local business efforts in the in Belmont. We'll be back in a moment.
00:32:56.550 --> 00:33:05.880 Jeff Goodman: We're back and you're back to rediscovering New York support for the program comes from our sponsors the mark mind and team mortgage strategist at for you to mortgage
00:33:06.300 --> 00:33:27.120 Jeff Goodman: For assistance in any kind of residential mortgage market his team can be reached at 646-330-4735 and support also comes from the Law Offices of Thomas the ACA focusing on wills estate planning probate and inheritance litigation Tom and his staff can be reached at 212-495-0317
00:33:28.380 --> 00:33:32.880 Jeff Goodman: Our show is about New York. It's neighborhoods its history and the myriad textures of our amazing city.
00:33:33.480 --> 00:33:41.520 Jeff Goodman: There's another great show on the air about New York and specifically about the business of real estate. Good morning, New York with Vince Rocco my friend and colleague brown Harris.
00:33:42.000 --> 00:33:47.160 Jeff Goodman: This is show airs live on Tuesday mornings at 9am on voice america.com and also on podcasts.
00:33:47.700 --> 00:33:59.460 Jeff Goodman: You can like the show on Facebook. And you can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter my handle is there a Jeff Goodman NYC. If you have comments or questions or if you'd like to get on our mailing list, please email me, Jeff at rediscovering. New York, NY saying
00:34:00.480 --> 00:34:05.130 Jeff Goodman: One of the note before we get to our second guest, even though rediscovering New York is not a show about real estate.
00:34:05.520 --> 00:34:11.520 Jeff Goodman: When I'm not on the air. I am D to real estate agent our amazing city where I help my clients buy sale lease and run property.
00:34:12.180 --> 00:34:23.640 Jeff Goodman: If you or someone you care about is considering a move into out of a within New York. I would love to help you with all those real estate. You can reach me and my team at 646-306-4761
00:34:24.810 --> 00:34:33.210 Jeff Goodman: Our second guest tonight is Peter Madonna Peter is the third generation family, owner of medallia bakery on author Avenue, with his business partner Charleston Lima.
00:34:33.600 --> 00:34:39.540 Jeff Goodman: Which celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. That's right. Everyone the business is 103 years old.
00:34:40.410 --> 00:34:47.280 Jeff Goodman: Peter is also the chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, which works to advance the economic well being of local businesses in the community.
00:34:47.580 --> 00:34:53.430 Jeff Goodman: By promoting Little Italy in the Bronx brand its strong ethnic heritage and leadership in the culinary marketplace.
00:34:54.210 --> 00:35:00.690 Jeff Goodman: Peter has a legacy of public service. Most recently, he spent 12 years as the Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation.
00:35:01.440 --> 00:35:09.720 Jeff Goodman: He provided leadership and strategic direction for financial and operational functions overseeing various areas, including human and financial resources, information technology.
00:35:10.020 --> 00:35:22.650 Jeff Goodman: Facilities and office services records management and Library Services. He also managed the foundations regional office operations in Kenya Thailand and the foundations Bellagio center in Bellagio. Guess where Italy.
00:35:23.640 --> 00:35:29.490 Jeff Goodman: Prior to his work at the Rockefeller Foundation Peter was chief of staff to Mayor Michael Bloomberg from 2000 to 2006
00:35:30.030 --> 00:35:38.460 Jeff Goodman: His previous service in New York City government included serving as the First Deputy Commissioner of the fire department deputy commissioner for budget and operations at the Department of Buildings
00:35:38.970 --> 00:35:44.520 Jeff Goodman: And Chief of Staff to the deputy mayor for operations. You also serve in City Hall during the ED conscious administration.
00:35:45.450 --> 00:35:59.220 Jeff Goodman: Peter received a bachelor's degree from Fordham right and Belmont, where he has taught urban studies as an adjunct professor. He also has a master's degree in urban studies from the University of Chicago. Peter Macedonia, a hearty welcome to rediscovering New York
00:35:59.640 --> 00:36:04.290 Peter Madonia: Thank you, Jeff. This is great. What a what a nice opportunity. Thank you. Really appreciate it.
00:36:04.590 --> 00:36:13.140 Jeff Goodman: And what a resume and what a history, my gosh, you've done you know you've taught you serve government served in nonprofits and now and now you're running a family business.
00:36:13.830 --> 00:36:24.330 Jeff Goodman: The first question I usually ask my guests. If someone's from New York. I like to find out where people are from. And if they come from other places, what brought them here, but with you. Owning a third generation business on author Avenue, you got to be from the Bronx.
00:36:24.390 --> 00:36:31.260 Peter Madonia: Original yeah pretty, pretty simple born raised lived. Yeah. It's all right there.
00:36:31.980 --> 00:36:33.630 Jeff Goodman: And did, did your grandfather start the business.
00:36:33.990 --> 00:36:35.760 Peter Madonia: My grandfather started the business and I
00:36:36.930 --> 00:36:54.060 Peter Madonia: Ironically enough, in the middle of the 1918 pandemic. So like, you know, we're reliving his history without really knowing what his history was because he certainly never talked about it. They just got up went to work but but he you know started the business in
00:36:55.680 --> 00:36:57.420 Peter Madonia: We celebrated our 100th anniversary of
00:36:58.740 --> 00:37:02.670 Peter Madonia: And there was a lot in between that for all of us in the family.
00:37:04.020 --> 00:37:09.780 Jeff Goodman: I really find it very heartfelt to speak to people who work and family businesses, you know, it's
00:37:10.410 --> 00:37:18.960 Jeff Goodman: It's really easy to just take something over, but when you make a decision that you're going to take it by the reins and continue with tradition that's that's really something special, but
00:37:19.650 --> 00:37:28.200 Jeff Goodman: First, I want to talk to you a little bit about your career in public and not for profit service. What was your first full time job. Was it in the family business, or did you do something else.
00:37:28.290 --> 00:37:38.460 Peter Madonia: No, I ran like a thief, man. I didn't, you know, I wanted to like see the world. I wanted to, you know, so my notes. So I didn't. That wasn't my
00:37:39.750 --> 00:37:45.180 Peter Madonia: My game plan. So I like, you know, I went to school. I went to college and went to graduate school.
00:37:45.720 --> 00:37:55.770 Peter Madonia: I got a dream job in at Kansas City Hall as a 26 year old. I was working in Kansas City or learning the business. I had a great mentor. I had great
00:37:56.610 --> 00:38:08.580 Peter Madonia: Great support there. I went on to other things in at conscious government and then i mean i want to back in the family business, my brother. So my grandfather started the business. My father and my uncle branded for
00:38:10.230 --> 00:38:23.880 Peter Madonia: My grandfather retired the 16th. My father and my uncle read it from the 60s to the mid 80s. My brother was in the business and he loved it. He was unfortunately died in a car accident prematurely at 38 years old so
00:38:24.990 --> 00:38:39.720 Peter Madonia: I was in City Hall at the time and I had to make a sort of personal decision wasn't a business decision, it was personal. And I went, I took the business back at the time. And that's how I wound up back in the family business.
00:38:40.740 --> 00:38:55.440 Peter Madonia: Which I, you know, there are lots of things to regret about that how that happened. But I don't regret having had to do that because of all the jobs. I've had it was a toughest one to take on and for a lot of reasons.
00:38:56.700 --> 00:38:58.590 Jeff Goodman: I believe you. You didn't leave
00:38:58.590 --> 00:39:00.090 Jeff Goodman: Public Service at that point you came
00:39:00.120 --> 00:39:00.660 Jeff Goodman: Oh, I did.
00:39:00.720 --> 00:39:01.770 Peter Madonia: Yes, I did. I
00:39:02.040 --> 00:39:13.950 Peter Madonia: Went I went to see a conscience said, I'm leaving government. He looked at me like I was crazy. He said, why, why. And I said, I, I can't explain this to you. This is personal. And I went back
00:39:15.240 --> 00:39:19.590 Peter Madonia: I had a lot of help. My father was so alive. My sister helped me a lot of people helped me
00:39:20.700 --> 00:39:31.350 Peter Madonia: But I had to learn the business. I really, you know, I, we all went to work there as kids because you don't have a choice right what they scraped pants to clean the floors, whatever you do whatever you had to do.
00:39:31.800 --> 00:39:42.210 Peter Madonia: But it wasn't my pathway. I went back and learn as much as I could about the business. But I realized, some part of the way through that I needed help, and I wanted
00:39:43.020 --> 00:39:53.640 Peter Madonia: I understood the business part of it. I didn't grow up learning to be a baker, so I needed help in there and I, that's how I got. That's what I went and found help and I got a partner and
00:39:54.120 --> 00:40:10.890 Peter Madonia: That is turned out to be the best decision best personal and business decision I've made in my life and career decision he helped really helped me take that business from one place to another. In the last 25 years
00:40:11.760 --> 00:40:18.930 Jeff Goodman: You've had some positions in city government after the administration did you go back at some point from the business or did you manage to do both.
00:40:19.290 --> 00:40:32.370 Peter Madonia: So when I had. So I was working in the bakery and I once I took a partner when Mike Bloomberg decided to run for mayor. I didn't know him. Somebody introduced me to him. I liked him. I thought he'd make a good mayor.
00:40:33.390 --> 00:40:38.070 Peter Madonia: And I went back to my partner and said, You know, I want to try and help this guy get elected. I think he could be a good mayor.
00:40:38.760 --> 00:40:44.280 Peter Madonia: I wasn't crazy about the other candidate at the time. And, you know, the rest is history. My bike one
00:40:44.820 --> 00:40:50.580 Peter Madonia: Nobody expected him to when he wins. And then he looked around and said, who knows something about government. I did.
00:40:50.940 --> 00:41:06.180 Peter Madonia: That he said, Will you be my chief of staff sort of hard for me to, you know, that was sort of the pathway of my life that I if I had could have written it, I would have written it, I got to actually do it. And that was fabulous. He was a fantastic mayor and a great guy to work for
00:41:07.470 --> 00:41:11.400 Jeff Goodman: What had you leave city hall to go to the Rockefeller Foundation.
00:41:12.150 --> 00:41:22.650 Jeff Goodman: Oh, I want to tell our listeners if they don't have the Rockefeller Foundation is one of the largest foundations in the United States. It's one of the oldest it's been around. I think since 1913 it actually predates the Madonna bakery.
00:41:25.980 --> 00:41:27.720 Peter Madonia: Brothers, but not title brothers on the revenue.
00:41:28.080 --> 00:41:30.120 Peter Madonia: From Nike 30
00:41:30.720 --> 00:41:31.020 Um,
00:41:32.700 --> 00:41:38.760 Peter Madonia: I always had Wanderlust and so the notion of being able to like it's a $200 million
00:41:39.300 --> 00:41:47.580 Peter Madonia: Business to run with a $4 billion endowment and it was global. And so the notes like I just the notion of being able to play globally.
00:41:48.390 --> 00:41:58.350 Peter Madonia: I said this is the right i need to do this and it was absolutely spectacular. You know, we had a board made up of some of the most you know
00:41:59.130 --> 00:42:10.740 Peter Madonia: The best leaders in this country, you know, Dick Parsons and jack row and strive, the CEO from Africa, these are these are people who ran major corporations. Where was where the board.
00:42:11.430 --> 00:42:20.670 Peter Madonia: Sandra Day O'Connor. I got to like really learn from some of the best people in the world. And it was it you know it was a fabulous experience.
00:42:22.230 --> 00:42:31.020 Jeff Goodman: And, you know, then you came full circle that you you went to work for city government you answered the call to come back to the family business when you're when you're when your brother died.
00:42:31.620 --> 00:42:44.430 Jeff Goodman: On you went back into city government you went into public service as the Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation, and then you went back to the bit to the family business. What was it that had you say, Okay, I'm coming home. This is
00:42:44.520 --> 00:42:45.630 Jeff Goodman: This is what I'm going to be doing.
00:42:45.870 --> 00:42:57.240 Peter Madonia: But you just you just characterize it. That was coming home, right, it wasn't. I wanted to be there and I wanted to acknowledge and celebrate 100 years it's, you know,
00:42:57.690 --> 00:43:12.840 Peter Madonia: Dick Parsons who ran time water was the chair of the board at Rockefeller, I want to tell them up like Dick, I'm going to leave. And he looked at me and said, what, and I said, Take my family's business is starting 100 years old and he looked at me and said, that's a big deal.
00:43:14.370 --> 00:43:15.210 Peter Madonia: He said, I get it.
00:43:17.340 --> 00:43:19.050 Peter Madonia: It's not more complicated than that.
00:43:20.190 --> 00:43:20.880 Peter Madonia: It was so
00:43:22.620 --> 00:43:34.560 Jeff Goodman: That's such a great story. Um, it must have been a big change going from one of the largest foundations, back to back to managing your family baking business on Arthur Avenue, but but but but home. You came
00:43:35.850 --> 00:43:40.410 Jeff Goodman: We're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our conversation with Peter Madonna.
00:43:40.770 --> 00:43:55.620 Jeff Goodman: Who is not only a partner in 100 year old business. The majority of brothers bake bakery. So I get that right, that I say it right yeah but he's also the chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, which we're also going to ask them about when we come back after a short break.
00:43:57.360 --> 00:43:58.320 Jeff Goodman: You're listening to
00:43:58.980 --> 00:43:59.730 Peter Madonia: talk radio
00:43:59.970 --> 00:44:00.420 And my
00:44:01.560 --> 00:44:01.980 Left.
00:44:03.300 --> 00:44:03.510 In
00:46:13.260 --> 00:46:19.770 Jeff Goodman: We're back to rediscover in New York and our episode on Belmont and Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.
00:46:20.220 --> 00:46:25.380 Jeff Goodman: Bronx his own Little Italy and I daresay, the most vibrant Little Italy that New York City has right now.
00:46:25.800 --> 00:46:38.520 Jeff Goodman: Our second guest is Peter Madonna Peter is partner in the donation brothers bakery right Arthur Avenue and also the chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, Peter. How did you get involved with the Business Improvement District and I almost want to ask you how you got
00:46:40.350 --> 00:46:52.890 Jeff Goodman: Enrolled or as I take on leadership position, sometimes roped into the chair of the but you know it's know given given your given your history, you know, it's no surprise that that that you would be asked to to chair the dead.
00:46:52.950 --> 00:47:04.590 Peter Madonia: Um, so, I mean, it started with. I mean, when I was in City Hall in 2002 to six I partnered with Frank France who was a community leader in the neighborhood.
00:47:05.010 --> 00:47:18.480 Peter Madonia: And and we figured out that the next iteration of what we have to do is start a bit there. And so we did that together while I was in City Hall, but I had a lot of ability to get that done from a process point of view.
00:47:18.930 --> 00:47:27.930 Peter Madonia: And the politics. And then, you know, over the last, you know, once I came back. It was a, you know, it was a pretty natural
00:47:28.710 --> 00:47:37.200 Peter Madonia: Iteration for me to do this I this things like his value. I can add in terms of my understanding how the government works, how the city works.
00:47:38.040 --> 00:47:46.920 Peter Madonia: And it just seemed the right time, you know, the business of my nephews in the business, my partner son is in the business. So I have a lot of freedom in terms of
00:47:47.370 --> 00:47:58.560 Peter Madonia: The ability to do other things besides worry about the bakery, although I you know I still walk in there every day and look at everything and say, Why is this why is that that's just, that's just DNA. If
00:47:58.890 --> 00:48:09.930 Peter Madonia: You can't. You either get that you don't it's it's DNA but but it allowed me to to spend time thinking about what is sustainability look like for Little Italy in the Bronx.
00:48:10.530 --> 00:48:18.990 Peter Madonia: You know, I watched Little Italy in Manhattan, and it was about real estate prices dissipate right and disappear, and that's unfortunate and
00:48:19.470 --> 00:48:25.170 Jeff Goodman: I mean literally now is a Mulberry Street. I mean, there are some. There are some long time businesses that are great like to Paulos
00:48:25.530 --> 00:48:31.110 Jeff Goodman: And some of the restaurants, but but basically you know when my it's changed as a residential neighborhood complete
00:48:31.110 --> 00:48:39.000 Peter Madonia: Yes, and and you know I have great respect for them and what they've been paid. But, you know, we're more than just restaurants, right, we have this
00:48:39.690 --> 00:48:54.210 Peter Madonia: synergy of retail and restaurants that I think feed off each other and then we have and I love Justin's conversation. I look actually learned a lot about a place I should know more about he knows a lot more than I do. It was really fascinating and
00:48:55.380 --> 00:49:01.830 Peter Madonia: Great, the year, but we have this bigger ecosystem, right, we have the Bronx Zoo, the Botanical Gardens Fordham University of St. Barnabas
00:49:02.580 --> 00:49:09.660 Peter Madonia: Right, like this is like a little bit of a gem there and we're right in the center of that so
00:49:10.650 --> 00:49:19.050 Peter Madonia: We have a we have the potential for long term sustainability, because those places, those institutions have constantly new feeder.
00:49:20.040 --> 00:49:32.190 Peter Madonia: Populations that then find us either for the retail or the restaurants and then we feed off each other. It's a, it's a great synergy and I think it's what has allowed us to survive as a neighborhood.
00:49:32.850 --> 00:49:41.730 Peter Madonia: Even when when the local population shifted dramatically from almost 100% Italian when I was a kid, you don't have to speak English, they're
00:49:42.630 --> 00:49:56.100 Peter Madonia: Two very different population, but the but the the central business district has really flourished and and actually is growing. We open in the middle of the pandemic. We open for new businesses and less
00:49:56.610 --> 00:50:05.070 Peter Madonia: Three months, people are people are seeing this as a place it. We are a regional destination now and I think Justin sort of hit on this.
00:50:05.610 --> 00:50:11.580 Peter Madonia: You know, we draw from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island Rocklin Westchester
00:50:12.270 --> 00:50:20.880 Peter Madonia: So we have a regional desk where regional destination, either for dining or for retail or for some combination of the two. And so I think that's what's allowed us to
00:50:21.420 --> 00:50:30.450 Peter Madonia: Flourish. And I, and part of what I tried to do what I'm trying to do with the bid is how do we maintain sustainability, some of that will be about
00:50:31.020 --> 00:50:38.790 Peter Madonia: Our peoples nephews and sons and daughters coming into businesses because that's what that's what we are right. We are authentic because
00:50:39.240 --> 00:50:49.500 Peter Madonia: I'm a third generation. And we're going to have a fourth one. Now the VM parties have a third generation. You know, I can go up and down the block you know consensus run Dark Souls title.
00:50:50.580 --> 00:51:00.360 Peter Madonia: Though these are hundred 90 at 70 year old businesses that are sustained by family. It is incredibly unique as a conglomerate.
00:51:01.530 --> 00:51:10.110 Jeff Goodman: It is, you know, and I'm a big fan. Justin talked about the train and being able to get to Fordham and 80 minutes. Well, I can get there and non I live on hundred off 125th Street.
00:51:10.530 --> 00:51:20.490 Jeff Goodman: And Antonio's is a favorite haunts of mine, and I'll even say that when I had my mother's 80th birthday party here I catered it and I had Joe sing Happy Birthday over the phone.
00:51:21.540 --> 00:51:22.260 Peter Madonia: That's great.
00:51:22.680 --> 00:51:24.360 Jeff Goodman: Because we couldn't beat the restaurant, you know,
00:51:24.600 --> 00:51:26.640 Jeff Goodman: Pretty special actually yeah yeah
00:51:27.240 --> 00:51:28.890 Peter Madonia: He was afraid to sink. By the way, but
00:51:28.980 --> 00:51:29.910 Jeff Goodman: No, he's not know
00:51:31.170 --> 00:51:39.690 Peter Madonia: You know, but Justin actually touched on something and and this is this is where the role as a bit becomes important. You know where transportation desert.
00:51:40.440 --> 00:51:49.740 Peter Madonia: The key train is a you're not carrying a you know gallon olive oil, you know, a bag of meet a beggar bread in the bag of pasta.
00:51:50.220 --> 00:51:54.780 Peter Madonia: Up to the D train or the number to train on White Plains drove that's not, you're not walking there.
00:51:55.680 --> 00:52:04.410 Peter Madonia: So we, we actually need vehicular traffic. We need ingress and egress we need, like, and this is you know this this
00:52:04.890 --> 00:52:15.060 Peter Madonia: Were a little bit in rub with the city. Now who like would love to just put bike lanes everywhere. And that works in a lot of neighborhoods, but one size doesn't fit all. And this has been a little bit of a
00:52:15.870 --> 00:52:20.160 Peter Madonia: With a push and shove with us with the city on we need parking
00:52:20.790 --> 00:52:36.630 Peter Madonia: We need ingress and egress we need vehicular traffic. We need cars. Sorry. I know everybody doesn't like cars anymore, but put we we can't exist without them we are transportation desert. They took the Third Avenue well down the 1970s, for whatever reason,
00:52:37.710 --> 00:52:50.610 Peter Madonia: There's no, there's no way to get here without a car. And so that, you know, and we're regional destination. And by the way, I think, in the current context, having lost 60 million tourists from around the world.
00:52:51.540 --> 00:52:56.520 Peter Madonia: The regional tourism is going to become very important in the city in the next two or three years.
00:52:57.540 --> 00:53:08.760 Jeff Goodman: How has. How do you think a lot of the local businesses had been impacted during the pandemic. I mean, aside from the first couple of months has your business been been impacted now compared to a year ago.
00:53:10.290 --> 00:53:16.680 Peter Madonia: The first to your analysis is perfect. I mean, the first couple of months were like everybody was trying to figure out everything
00:53:17.520 --> 00:53:29.340 Peter Madonia: What shifted was not so much the volume as the distribution of the volume, like we've traditionally been Friday, Saturday, Sunday busy days of the week.
00:53:29.700 --> 00:53:36.270 Peter Madonia: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, you know, each day gets a little busier it's distributed much more evenly over the week now because people are home.
00:53:37.410 --> 00:53:50.700 Peter Madonia: But, but the other retail side I think people have held their own. We certainly have. And if we have were a good barometer for the retail businesses, the restaurants are getting crushed because yeah I
00:53:52.020 --> 00:54:08.760 Peter Madonia: Mean, I'm going to go. I'm going to say what I want to say here. I think the governor has made a bad, bad decision about restaurant dining in New York City, without the science and data to support it. And I said it publicly in other places. So I'll say it here.
00:54:09.960 --> 00:54:23.220 Peter Madonia: restaurants have done a really good job they from day one. The minute they were able to open. They did everything they were supposed to do, and none of them want anybody to get sick, including themselves or their workers.
00:54:24.390 --> 00:54:36.780 Peter Madonia: They, the fact that they cannot have dining in New York City, but you can't everywhere else in the state is crushing the restaurants and it's just patently unfair because the data doesn't support it.
00:54:38.880 --> 00:54:40.620 Peter Madonia: Is my analytical speech for the night.
00:54:41.790 --> 00:54:48.000 Jeff Goodman: What's reality of the world that we're living in at the moment and I did want to ask you a question about before the pandemic.
00:54:48.630 --> 00:54:59.880 Jeff Goodman: Has the bulk of the kind of customers, you have a majority of brothers change and change a lot that there must have been a time when most of your business was right from Arthur Avenue right from the surrounding blocks.
00:55:00.270 --> 00:55:11.610 Peter Madonia: I mean, when I was a kid or growing up. I mean, everybody will came out in the day shop for the day when home cook came out the next day shopped again for the day, that's, I mean that's more
00:55:12.240 --> 00:55:23.580 Peter Madonia: Like almost 100% you know like we are a regional destination people come from all over. We have a regular clientele that is historical generational right
00:55:23.940 --> 00:55:28.800 Peter Madonia: Like these are people that their parents or grandparents shop there and they shop there now.
00:55:29.430 --> 00:55:38.250 Peter Madonia: But again, because we have this larger ecosystem with the zoo in the garden in a constant new feeder population. Our clientele is quite different and
00:55:38.730 --> 00:55:58.080 Peter Madonia: You know, as a business at the bakery we've evolved right we make we make all the bread. My grandfather made, but we also make like cranberry one of bread, we make a jalapeno bread. We make bread that are, you know, to our client to a new clientele to a new taste but and that's a good thing.
00:55:58.770 --> 00:56:01.500 Jeff Goodman: And can people order them online. If they don't want to go to the
00:56:01.530 --> 00:56:12.750 Peter Madonia: We have not done, you know, shipping Brad is is is not a simple I thought about it and I've researched it. It's not as simple as it is as as other things because you got it. It's overnight.
00:56:13.350 --> 00:56:23.040 Peter Madonia: If it's not overnight. It's not going to be the same product and you don't want to compromise your product. We have, we stand behind our product so complicated.
00:56:23.940 --> 00:56:32.340 Jeff Goodman: All right. Well, Peter, just like with Justin's segment. We're at a time. Time just goes by really fast, even when you have 25 minutes to speak to a guest.
00:56:33.000 --> 00:56:41.550 Jeff Goodman: Our second guest on this episode about Belmont and Arthur Avenue, also known as the Little Italy in the Bronx has been Peter Madonna. He's the third generation family owned
00:56:41.820 --> 00:56:48.810 Jeff Goodman: Owner of them Antonia brothers Baker on Arthur Avenue and he's also the chairman of the Belmont Business Improvement District, Peter. Thanks for being on the program.
00:56:49.380 --> 00:56:58.320 Jeff Goodman: Thank you. If you have comments or questions about the show. If you'd like to get on our mailing list, please email me, Jeff at rediscovering New York that NYC. You can like us on Facebook.
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00:57:02.940 --> 00:57:07.740 Jeff Goodman: Once again, I'd like to thank our sponsors the mark mind and team working strategist at freedom mortgage
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00:57:13.590 --> 00:57:20.790 Jeff Goodman: One more thing before we sign off, I'm Jeff Goodman, a real estate agent of brown Harris Stevens in New York City and whether you're selling, buying leasing or renting
00:57:21.120 --> 00:57:32.580 Jeff Goodman: My team and I provide the best service and expertise in New York City, real estate to help you with your real estate needs. You can reach us at 646-306-4761 our producers real story or
00:57:33.240 --> 00:57:42.540 Jeff Goodman: Our engineer is the great Sam Leibowitz our special consultant is David Griffin of landmark branding. He'll be on the show next week. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.