Nearly six years after his death, Frank LoCicero, a longtime civic leader in Bellerose who fought against the establishment of a sanitation garage at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, was honored Monday by having a triangle island in Bellerose named after him.
"I feel that this triangle and the dedication of this street is symbolic of the greatness that my grandfather represented," said Lisa Sarno, one of LoCicero's five grandchildren, speaking in front of civic leaders and family members on the grassy triangle at the intersection of Hillside Avenue and the southbound Cross Island Parkway service road.
LoCicero lived on 242nd Street in Bellerose with his wife, son and daughter for nearly 50 years. He was president of the Bellerose-Hillside Civic Association for more than 20 years.
"You always saw him with his clipboard and his pipe," recalled Richard Hynes, who is now co-president of the Bellerose-Hillside Civic Association.
About 10 years ago, LoCicero organized demonstrations against a city proposal to put sanitation garages near residents at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. He proposed alternate sites for the garages, which were to be used to store and fix garbage trucks. Eventually, the city decided to build the garages near the Cross Island Parkway, farther away from residents.
"I knew of his reputation in the civic association," said Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who presented LoCicero's family with a "Frank P. LoCicero Triangle" sign identical to the one that was placed in the soil of the triangle. "He was a leading community activist. He wanted to make sure the Creedmoor property was used favorably for the community."
Born in 1918, LoCicero studied art at Harran High School in Manhattan and later became the youngest person to have a sculpture exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Weprin said.
After graduating from high school, LoCicero attended a commercial arts school and began working as an artist at Norcross Greeting Cards in Manhattan.
During World War II, LoCicero enlisted in the U.S. Army. He spent five years in Hawaii drawing aerial maps for the Army before resuming work at Norcross and marrying, Marie LoCicero, in 1946.
As a civic leader, LoCicero sometimes used his artistic talents to help design buildings, publications, posters and fliers, said Veronica Sarno, LoCicero's daughter, 54. He also volunteered his time at the Queens County Farm Museum in Glen Oaks and at the VA Hospital in Manhattan.
LoCicero died on Nov. 5, 1997. Members of his civic association dedicated a memorial stone to him in 2001, which was placed on the triangle at Hillside Avenue and the Cross Island Parkway, close to where the memorial sign was placed on Monday.
"He was a real gentleman. He would take your coat and hat, and you had to have a cup of tea," said Lorraine Oliger, vice president of the Bellerose-Hillside Civic Association. "He wasn't afraid to say what he thought."
LoCicero is survived by his wife, daughter, son, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2003 Community News Group