Anthony De Crescenzo – Outgoing President of the 13th AvenueMerchants Association
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: De Crescenzo’s grandfather opened theBensonhurst fabric store De Crescenzo Brothers back in 1929. Theshop, still at its 13th Avenue location between Bay Ridge Avenueand 70th Street, is currently run by De Crescenzo and his oldersister. As part of the third generation to own the family business,he says he is proud to serve the community as a merchant and civicleader. I run the 13th Avenue Merchants Association the same waythat I run my business, De Crescenzo said. I want to be able tolook people in the eyes, do a good job and have people feel that Istand for what I do. De Crescenzo’s father was part of the firsttrade organization to unite the business owners of 13th Avenue backin the 1950s. Although he died in 1984, just as his son wasbeginning to enter the world of local activism, De Crescenzo knowshe would approve. I think he would be proud of what we were ableto accomplish, he said. And being a community-minded person, Ithink he would feel we’ve done a very positive thing for thecommunity.
PERSONAL: After six years as president of the 13th AvenueMerchants, De Crescenzo is stepping down (and handing over thereins of the organization to Tatiana Nicoli and *) to spend moretime with his wife, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’slymphoma. The couple has been married for 45 years. They have twodaughters — ages 37 and 40 – and three grandsons. A lifetimeBensonhurst resident, save for a seven-year stint in East Flatbush,De Crescenzo considers the whole neighborhood to be like kin. Youconsider the community part of your family, he said, regarding hiscivic volunteerism. It’s both rewarding and probably important.It’s what you do to define who you are.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Probably the biggest issue…is drawing thecommunity onto the avenue to patronize 13th Avenue merchants, DeCrescenzo said, adding: We hope we can do that as an organizationby seeing new and diversified businesses on the avenue. Heenvisions the 13th Avenue of the future as having a unified lookthat could entice potential shoppers. I’d like it to be more of asmall town look, a throwback look – tree-lined small businesses,he said. Everybody would be recognizable to everybody.