Councilman Feliz & Bronx Little Italy to Host Street Renaming Ceremony in Honor of Joe Liberatore, the “Mayor of Arthur Avenue”

Aug 21, 2021 804

BY: Megan Levi

The Belmont Business Improvement District (BID) will host a brief press ceremony on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 11:00 AM to celebrate the renaming of Arthur Avenue at Crescent Avenue in honor of “Joe Liberatore Way,” one of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market’s original 117 merchants and beloved member of the community.

Born in 1919 to Italian immigrant parents, the late Joe Liberatore started his career as a street vendor and owner of a vegetable pushcart in 1930’s. He worked 14-to-16-hour days out of his seven-foot pushcart exposed to the outdoor elements, but he was passionate about his work and persevered.

When Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened the Arthur Avenue Retail Market in 1940, Liberatore operated out of stand number four, a 42-square-foot stall for $4 per week and found success. His stand was located in front of the building, and he became the unofficial greeter of the market. Joe was a pillar of the community – when the number of retailers in the market dwindled he remained. Joe raised five children in the neighborhood and contributed greatly to the community. In the 1970’s Liberatore shifted his businesses to include selling houseplants and vegetable seeds from Italy.

“From one mayor to another” is how Mayor Bloomberg began a 2009 letter to Joe, before going on to wish him a happy 90th birthday. Joe was the last of the original 117 vendors of the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. A few years before Joe’s passing in 2011, his son Richard took over the business.

SOURCE: Little Italy in the Bronx

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