Talkin’ bout my generation, my dad and daughter’s, too

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Three generations of the Vallone family were on stage at Astoria’s Central Lounge last Thursday night, playing classics such as “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” and “Rock Around the Clock” in celebration of City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.’s (D-Astoria) 50th birthday.

“I’m overwhelmed and humbled by this,” said Vallone, who turned half a century on March 23. “There’s more people here than I ever could have imagined.”

Fellow politicians, civic activists and various well-wishers crowded into the lounge at 20-30 Steinway St. to hear the nine-year councilman play the guitar and drums, as well as the musical stylings of his father, former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. on the cow bell; his brothers Paul Vallone on tambourine and Perry Vallone on guitar; his daughter and his nieces, who sang; and his mother Tena Vallone, who played saxophone. The event also featured the drumming of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

“It was very heart-warming,” said Tena Vallone of playing with her family. “I don’t know if I’d do it again, but I really enjoy it.”

Peter Vallone Jr. advertised his event with a Bruce Springsteen-esque picture of himself wearing a sleeveless white T-shirt, a headband and sunglasses. Yet his real on-stage wardrobe was a white dress suit and burgundy tie more suited to the posh atmosphere of the Central Lounge. Other members of his family dressed similarly, with Peter Vallone Sr. wearing a gray suit and the councilman’s niece Catena wearing a black dress with bows.

“I like doing it,” Catena Vallone, Paul’s 11-year-old daughter, said of performing, “because I get to do it with my family.”

Special guests to the event included city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Borough President Helen Marshall and Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The councilman also invited up on stage Omar Audi, a 9-year-old Astoria resident originally from Lebanon who has hereditary angiodema, a rare and potentially fatal swelling disease. The medicine to control it is only available in America, and when his parents were about to be deported, Peter Vallone Jr. led the campaign to allow them to stay.

“He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met,” Peter Vallone Jr. said of Omar.

Civic activist Rose Marie Poveromo said the councilman was truly deserving of such a party.

“He tells it the way it is and pulls no punches,” Poveromo said. “He is unconcerned about his image and represents ‘We the People’ to the nth degree.”

State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said she had seen the councilman on stage before and always found it fun.

“Everyone loves Peter,” said Simotas. “And I don’t know if they come to celebrate his birthday or to hear him sing.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 10:56 am, October 12, 2011
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