A Staten Island Revelation from Eleanor Roosevelt!

A Staten Island Revelation from Eleanor Roosevelt!

I was researching online at the New York Public Library website when I came across a postcard featuring the Vincent Catanese Orchestra in a Staten Island postcard collection. Wondering who Vincent Catanese was, I did an online search. I found information. It was from, of all people, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Eleanor Roosevelt. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

In her “My Day” column for July 6, 1940, Eleanor wrote that she and Franklin were at a ceremony to celebrate his Presidential Library at Hyde Park, New York. In describing the events of the day Mrs. Roosevelt wrote: “At about 6:00 o’clock the President came back… Mr. Bowers sang for us again, accompanied on the guitar by Mr. Vincent Catanese, who has his own orchestra on Staten Island. Mr. Catanese was really remarkable, for he was able to play almost any song that was suggested if someone just hummed the tune… I was sorry that a call from the Secretary of State took the President back to the big house about 8:00 o’clock and [this] made everybody else go back to work.”

According to historian Richard Simpson the Catanese Club was located at 86 Mills Avenue. This is north of Sand Lane in South Beach. The building was originally part of Rigali’s Hotel. In the 1980’s two different nightclubs occupied the structure. They were the Sand Castle and the Club Brazil.

You can hear the Vincent Cantanese Orchestra at youtube.com

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