Wednesday, November 09, 2016

On The Passing Of Angela Vita, Local Business Woman And Community Advocate

Angela Vita, Carroll Gardens realtor and dedicated community member
(photo courtesy of the Vita family)
Former Vita Realty location at 317 Court Street in 2011
296 Smith Street, Vita Realty annex in 2011
now the Carroll Gardens office of Realty Collective
Angela Vita with Victoria Hagman of Realty Collective
(photo courtesy of Victoria Hagman)

I am so very sad to announce that long-time Carroll Gardens resident Angela Vita passed away recently after prolonged illness. A memorial service will be held at 1 pm on November 14th at Sacred Hearts and St Stephens Church at 108 Carroll Street.

Angela, who lived on First Place, was the founder of Vita Realty, a trusted real estate business here in Carroll Gardens. She was also a dedicated member of the community, who served on Community Board 6's Economic/ Waterfront Development Committee, the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, as well as the Court Street Merchant's Association.

Angela's real estate business operated in Carroll Gardens for over thirty years.
For most of that time, her main office was located at 317 Court Street, while she also ran a smaller annex just a block away at 296 Smith Street.
In 2011, while she was recuperating from an operation, Angela was forced out of her Court Street office by two former agents who decided to start their own realty. Disheartened, Angela moved her business to the Smith Street and shortly afterwards, Realty Collective acquired Vita Realty.
Angela joined Realty Collective for just a short time, but in recent years, she was housebound and preferred to concentrate on real-estate management.
Victoria Hagman, Realty Collective's co-founder, remembers Angela fondly.
"She was an amazing person. She was kind and giving. and a real advocate for this community, " Victoria told PMFA. " She was an inspiration and a mentor, who helped me make the decision to get involved with the community and advocacy. Following in her footsteps would be an honor."

Craig Hammerman, Community Board 6's District Manager, also paid tribute to Angela:

"She served for many years on our Economic/Waterfront Development Committee as a public (non-Community Board) member. As a local realtor who also lived in and cared deeply about her community, we appreciated having a small business owner on our committee. 
Small business owners often do not have the luxury of consistent free time to volunteer for service on the Community Board so it is critically important that when someone is able to serve that we add their voice to the chorus. Angela gave us insight into what some of the local business trends were, and wasn't shy in sharing her perspective. She also reinvested in the community where possible supporting various good causes including our own non-profit organization, Friends of Brooklyn CB6, Inc. Her perspective, enthusiasm and contribution of time and resources will all be missed. Our community is a better place to live, work and visit thanks to her efforts."

Vince Mazzone of Mazzone Hardware, who organized the Court Street Merchants Association with Angela, wrote:
"I could tell you that she played a major role in the formation of CSMA. Very possible we would never have gotten the merchants association off the ground if it weren't for her.
Angela was a very interesting person, occasionally dropping hints about her past, but always leaving a bit of mystery. On more than one occasion I had suggested she write her memoirs. Hopefully she did.

Carroll Gardener Maria Pagano knew Angela well. She writes:
"Angela was something of a trailblazer in Carroll Gardens. She was independent and outspoken. She grew up here, attended Sacred Hearts-St Stephen's Church, married and divorced and lived at 29 First Place for most of her life. I know that she lost a beloved niece in the early years of 2000 and had health issues (knee and hip surgeries) at roughly the same time. She opened Vita Realty and moved to the space we knew on Court Street in the '80's. I remember her as one among a very few local residents (and only woman) with active professional offices in the neighborhood. I remember her and Penelope Karagious as the only two nearby, independent realtors in the late '70's. When I first met her, she had a thriving rental and sales business that later included an extensive property management segment as the neighborhood evolved.
As a long time First Place resident, Angela was recruited by Connie Gibbons to join the first Executive Board of the First Place Tri- Block Association around 1989-90. Angela was an informed, well spoken neighborhood advocate, in touch with long time residents and "newcomers" alike.
The Angela I remember didn't want anyone to speak for her; she bristled when anyone attempted to characterize the neighborhood's "best interests" or any kind of "neighborhood benefit". She clearly understood the independent attitude of many of the Italian immigrant home owners and fought to help them help themselves as they labored to make their way in the Big Apple.under the City's myriad property rules and regulations.
Angela was a generous, caring person with deep roots. She had a strong commitment to service and was unafraid of speaking her mind, particularly on issues that involved common sense, the neighborhood and mutual benefit."

I will always remember Angela for caring deeply about the future of Carroll Gardens. In 2007, she recognized local residents who were fighting against several out of scale developments that were being built in this brownstone neighborhood at the time.
In a post on her website she wrote:
"It is heartening to note that the residents in the community are taking exception to the indiscriminate designs of the condo buildings. They are being built too high and they have no 'link' to the communities. Several groups have made a concerted effort to be heard not only by city officials but by developer company owners and their architects. This could be the start of stopping Brooklyn from being a second Manhattan. Hopefully, this trend will continue..."


Anonymous said...

Don't think it was a good idea to include the link for the story relating to Amy/Frances v. Angela story from 2011. It was an awful situation for Angela. She's gone, she should rest in need to dredge up the past.

Concetta said...

Dredge up the past? It's part of her story--nothing to be ashamed of.

mag said...

Angela Vita was a wonderful real estate broker. I bought my home in Carroll Gardens from her 17 years ago. She was very much "old school." My fondest memory was after we closed, Angela gave my daughter a beautiful ceramic elephant, as she remembered my telling her elephants were daughter's favorite animals. Five months after we closed, Vita Realty sent to my new home a beautiful, huge basket of goodies from D'Amicos on Christmas Day. As a new homeowner, she gave me valuable advice on being a landlord.Angela was one of the reasons I became a real estate agent, I always hope to emulate her grace and sense of community.

Thank you Angela Vita.
MJG & family

Katia said...

Thank you so much for your lovely tribute, MJG.

And thank you, Concetta. The incident in 2011 did change Angela's business and her subsequent path, so I do believe it was important to mention.

Anonymous said...

A good realtor, and a good human being. When the sales marked first started to heat up in Carroll Gardens, our landlord wouldn't renew our lease and soon started trooping realtors through our home. When the women from Vita came in, they looked around at our small children and said flat out "we don't do evictions" and left. It was clear to us that the Reality business was about helping people find homes and places to raise their families, not a business about giving the homes of some over to others on a whim.

May God Bless Angela and her family.