Star of Brooklyn: Salvatore “Buddy” Scotto




COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT – Salvatore “Buddy” Scotto has been a community activist since 1964. That year, Scotto recalled, he tried to convince his parents to move to the suburbs from their Carroll Gardens home because he was unhappy about the way the community was trending. However, they refused to leave their home, and he didn’t want to leave them behind.

“I was an only child and I had already given up my position in the Army so I didn’t want to leave my parents,” Scotto explained.

He then decided that maybe it was better to restore and upgrade the community rather than just leaving it. That’s when Scotto decided to start the group that, over the years, morphed into the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association.

The association – which came into being in 1990 as the First Place Tri-Block and Summit Street Association, and which Scott still serves as vice president — has been active since its inception on a wide range of community-improvement projects such as planting trees as well as advocating for the neighborhood over its decades of existence.

Scotto didn’t rest when he formed a civic association. Concerned about the polluted condition of the Gowanus Canal, he went to a professor at the New York City Technical College and expressed his concern over the water quality in it.

Students from the college then conducted a series of water tests and got back to Scotto with the results. The results showed that the water contained a couple of dangerous substances that cause diseases such as cholera. This really shocked Scotto and inspired him to do more about it. In 1978, he formed the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation, which has advocated for the canal and the community adjacent to it.

Scotto, a longtime member and co-founder of the Gowanus Expressway Community Coalition, has also been a fervent advocate for replacing the aging, dilapidated Gowanus Expressway with a tunnel, that he believes would help revitalize the neighborhoods under the shadow of the existing viaduct.

PERSONAL LIFE – Scotto lives in Brooklyn with his wife; they have two children. He graduated from St. Francis College

CAREER – Scotto is a Korean War veteran and has served as a funeral director, running the Scotto Funeral Home in Carroll Gardens, which has been in his family for three generations.

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