Following the outbreak of World War II, three cousins from New Rochelle went to war, each a son of three brothers who immigrated to America from Italy. They never returned.
Peter F. D’Onofrio, Charles D'Onofrio and James J. D’Onofrio attended New Rochelle High School. They were athletic and involved in all manner of sports including baseball. Thirteen years after the end of the war, the City of New Rochelle, under the leadership of Mayor George A. Vergara, renamed the park in the South End of New Rochelle as D’Onofrio Park. Vergara, a former Notre Dame football player under Knute Rockne and teammate of the famed Four Horseman of Notre Dame, officially dedicated the park as D'Onofrio Memorial Park in 1959. The park is home to D'Onofrio Field, site of two baseball diamonds and the D'Onofrio Picnic Pavilion.Read more
Searching for a piece of “American Pie” in New Rochelle
By Mark Lungariello – New Rochelle Sound Report – May 12, 2011
Even those of us that aren’t fans know the chorus: “Bye-bye, Miss American pie / Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry / Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye / Singing ‘this’ll be the day that I die.’”
But what exactly it means is anyone’s guess.
Music geeks have been trying to decipher the lyrics of the song “American Pie” for years. And as legend has it, the Rosetta Stone to understanding the song is the City of New Rochelle itself.
Don McLean, the artist who released the iconic tune back in 1971, grew up in New Ro – and many believe the lyrical narrative of the song is set right here on the Sound Shore.Read more
Long-time New Rochelle resident and veteran James Murphy recalls with pride the day the City of New Rochelle restored to a place of honor a forgotten part of New Rochelle's role in The Great War, a commemorative plaque now installed in the City Hall main entrance. The plaque was a gift to the City from grateful American soldiers, many of whom never returned from war.
According to the official history of Fort Slocum, during World War I, between December 10th and 20th 1917, the City of New Rochelle was deluged with young men seeking to enlist to fight in the Great War in Europe. Fort Slocum on David's Island in New Rochelle was "designated as the recruit examining and reception point for for all of New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. When the army announced that no volunteer enlistments would be accepted for the army after December 15th, 1917", a flood of prospective inductees descended on New Rochelle. Thousands of men, told to pack light, suffered bitter cold weather with no place to stay and no way to get to David's Island.
This is the story of how New Rochelleans rallied to support these men, averting a catastrophe, and how those men, in turn, thanked New Rochelle by presenting a bronze commemorative plaque which reads:
This tablet is erected by the volunteers of the National Army in grateful appreciation of the kindly welcome and hospitality extended by the people of New Rochelle from December 10th to 20th, 1917. Coming in such numbers that the Recruiting station at Fort Slocum could not provide accommodation for them, these thousands of men found food and shelter in the homes and public buildings of the city while awaiting reception into the service of the nation.
The plaque was originally installed at the New Rochelle Public Library in 1919. When the library was closed the plaque was put into storage. Through the efforts of Murphy and former New Rochelle Mayor Len Paduano this bit of New Rochelle history was given back to the people of New Rochelle.
College students came from all over to build houses for Habitat for Humanity. Jim Killoran, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity in New Rochelle was hosting groups of students. The group from Beloit College in Wisconsin had the most exciting ride by getting stuck in a snow storm in Pennsylvania for four and a half hours and driving a total of 28 hours instead of 17. When these students were asked about the political protests and atmosphere in Wisconsin, the answer was it is an 45 minute drive from Beloit and "everyone is talking about it includng the professors."
Among those attending the gathering at Corommandel Restaurant on March 7 was Doug Fleming of the Thornton Donovan School. He said he had the greatest respect for the work of Jim Killoran and Habitat of Humanity. Rockwell, he said, "is about as American as anyone can get."
Killoran then spoke about his American dream to bring a Norman Rockwell Museum to New Rochelle. Emphasizing that Main Street in New Rochelle was most important, he wants to create jobs and hotel filled with tourists there. Rockwell, in his view, saw "life as it is," giving the Thanksgiving Meal painting as an example, adding "I don't think New Rochelle knew Rockwell was New Rochelle."Read more
I received this email today and asked permission to share it with readers.
Dear Mr. Cox,
I lived in New Rochelle from my birth in [the 1940's] to the 60s, and am sorry to hear about the threat made against you and the corruption in the NRPD. I have no idea what the city is like these days, although showing my wife my childhood geography several years ago, I noticed that the near north end of town around North Avenue and Fifth Avenue looked very dilapidated, a far cry from my memory when I attended Albert Leonard JHS (since then, City Hall) in the 50s, and that much of downtown is unrecognizable to me.
It was, I am sure, far from Camelot in my youth, but it was a happy childhood in great, affordable genteel lower middle class neighborhoods (Fifth Avenue near Sylvan Place and later State Street), and Locust Avenue at the other end.
You, in the absence of a local paper (my dad, btw, was a reporter for the old Standard-Star before I was born), appear to be doing some solid reporting on the city. I think he would be proud of your efforts.