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Anthony Amato, Founder of Amato Opera, Dead at 91

Tony Amato MemoirsHarold Schrader Anthony Amato

Anthony Amato, who founded the Amato Opera and trained generations of opera singers at his small theater on the Bowery, died yesterday morning on City Island. He was 91.

Rochelle Mancini, a former singer at the Amato Opera who helped Mr. Amato write his recently published memoir, said the cause was cancer.

From its founding in 1948, the Amato Opera served as a training grounds for young singers with grand ambitions. Mr. Amato was said to have a keen eye for talent, and the likes of Neil Shicoff, Mignon Dunn and George Shirley performed there before going on to play famous venues like the Metropolitan Opera and City Opera.

After stints in theaters around the city, the opera opened on the Bowery at East Second Street in 1964; a location that harkened back to the thoroughfare’s history as a poor man’s Broadway. Less than 10 years after its opening it would share the block with C.B.G.B.; a vivid example of the eclectic arts scene in the neighborhood. Read more…

Nelson Perez, Biker Who Died on BQE, is Remembered as a Gentle Giant

Nelson Perez memorialCarly Okyle Part of the memorial to Nelson Perez, an East Village resident who died on September 10.

In a recent photograph, Nelson Perez is sitting on a bicycle that he had built himself, looking cool and confident. Around the East Village, he was known as Monster Rock (or “Monstro”), as well as the Gentle Giant. Bicycles and motorcycles were his passion. It was a passion that would eventually kill him, and he knew it.

“He would say, ‘I’m gonna ride to die,’” said Sandra “Sin” Mercado, a friend of Mr. Perez’s who was with him on the early hours of Saturday, September 10, when the fatal accident took place. Read more…

Saying Goodbye to Annie

Photo of Annie's flyerJenn Pelly Notices about the death of Ms. Wasserman, also known as Annie, were posted this weekend along East Fourth Street.

Annie is gone.

Gloria Wasserman, who sold newspapers at the Fulton Fish Market for decades and became a fixture in the East Village known and beloved as “Annie,” died last Wednesday morning at her daughter’s home in Los Angeles, friends and neighbors said. She was 85.

Notices about Ms. Wasserman’s death were posted on East Fourth Street over the weekend by the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association. It was on East Fourth Street, especially outside the Eastville Comedy Club, near Second Avenue, where Ms. Wasserman could usually be found holding court in recent years, uttering what became known as her catchphrase — “Leave ‘em laughing.”

Ms. Wasserman was best known for her work at the Fulton Fish Market where she spent 35 years selling newspapers and cigarettes and earning the nickname “South Street Annie.”
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