Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Look Who Is Back For A Visit: Celia Cacace

Celia Cacace, in red, is back in the neighborhood for a few weeks.
Look who I ran into on Court Street this morning. None other than Celia Maniero Cacace, a life long resident of Red Hook/ South Brooklyn***, who is back for a visit after moving away in 2013. She is staying with a friend for a few weeks and you will probably bump into her as she visits her favorite neighborhood spots.

After an entire life spent in South Brooklyn, she had to move to Wisconsin to live with her son after she lost her apartment and was priced out of the community. So her departure was bitter sweet.
Celia left a huge hole here that may never be filled, because she is pretty unique. Though she never held public office, she was always watching out for her community and was not afraid to stand up for what she believed was the right thing to do.
She was once famously quoted in the New York Times, foreshadowing the changes that would come to her beloved South Brooklyn, saying: "I don't care if they are yuppies, puppies or guppies moving in. Gentrification is not going to be good for us."

Fiercely loyal to South Brooklyn, Celia watched out for the seniors, got involved in every issue and gladly shared her vast knowledge of the neighborhood's history. She seemed to be at every meeting, whether it was at Public School 58, the 76th Precinct community council, or at Community Board 6 where she was a member for many years. She always took copious notes with her multi colored pens and asked her famous four point questions.

Before she left, neighbors and friends threw Celia a huge good-bye party. That was the last time we had seen her, though we have talked on the phone.
Just glad that she is back for a while.

***If you bump into her, don't refer to this neighborhood as Carroll Gardens. she will immediately correct you and say: "Call it Red Hook or South Brooklyn, the way it used to be called. The other name was invented by realtors who wanted to gentrify this neighborhood back in the 60's"

Celia Cacace as a Child in Red Hook
(Cacace family photo)
Celia Cacace (on the right) with former Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden (on left) at the Carroll Park re-opening ceremony in the 1980's


Louise said...

So happy to hear she is back in her neighborhood, Red Hook. Hope we run into her. Always enjoyed our talks.

Anonymous said...

NIce to see this! I will most certainly look for our mayor of Carroll Gardens. In the midst of CG changing at rapid speed, it's so nice to see a familiar face. Celia, you have been missed.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone ask her what she thinks of that monster building going up in Gowanus. Would love to here her response to it.

Katia said...

She just arrived last night. Not sure if she ventured to Bond Street yet, but I am also eager to hear her response.

Bobby "C: Note said...

Everybody remind her that she has an appointment with John Spina tomorrow! She has been trying to avoid going. We want her to have the best care possible, but she keeps making excuses not to go.

- her son Robert

Katia said...

If I see her, I will tell her.

Anonymous said...

The picture after the horse, is that Fran with Ceclia>

Anonymous said...

Is Celia still in town? How long is she staying for? I know I would enjoy catching up with her. Thanks. Kathleen

Katia said...

I think she is going to stay for a few more weeks. Someone told me that the best place to catch her is at the Senior Center in the morning.