The ‘Mayor of Morris Park’ was honored by the community he dedicated himself toward improving.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj and Senator Jeff Klein joined family and friends for a street co-naming ceremony honoring the late activist on Tuesday, August 21.
The northeast corner of Morris Park and Bogart avenues was renamed ‘Joe Blandino Way’ in his memory.
“Joe Blandino was a selfless and compassionate individual who did so much for others while always maintaining a positive outlook on the community and the world,” stated Gjonaj.
Joseph ‘Big Joe’ Blandino was one of three children born to Francesco and Concetta Blandino on February 28, 1964 at Westchester Square Hospital.
The Morris Park native attended school at P.S. 83, St. Francis Xavier School and Iona Preparatory School.
Following elementary school, Blandino worked as Martone Brothers’ photographer and videographer for weddings and special events.
The then 17-year-old’s family resided at 1737 Bogart Avenue until May 1981 when they relocated to Florida.
While living in the Sunshine State, he was employed at the family-owned Expresso Pizzeria and Villa Roma Restaurant, served on the Treasury Coast Opera Society and coached football at John Carrol High School.
At 23-years-old, Blandino returned to the Bronx and was re-employed at Martone Brothers.
According to Tony Martone, Martone Brothers former president, Blandino served as a video editor and studio manager for three decades.
In 2016, Martone Photography merged with Photography by Alfonso and opened a new studio at 180 Mamaroneck Avenue.
Blandino continued working there until his pas0sing.
The Mercy College Class of 1987 alumnus earned his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
On August 30, 1992, he married his wife Maria, a Bellerose, Queens native, at St. Gregory the Great Church in Queens, NY.
The couple moved into Blandino’s childhood home where they raised their four children, Francesco, Angela, Joseph and Nicholas.
He was affectionately known by everyone as the ‘Mayor of Morris Park’ for his dedicated service to his hometown and its many residents.
The always humble Blandino lived by his Christian faith in serving others as Iona Prep’s Fathers’ Council president, an usher at his parish St. Francis Xavier Church, a Bronx Umpire Alliance umpire, a Morris Park Community Association Neighborhood Patrol member, a Morris Park Kiwanis Club member and a Boy Scouts of America volunteer.
His community service included providing gifts to Calvary Hospital patients and local nursing home residents and annually performing as Santa Claus for St. Francis Xavier students.
Blandino passed away on February 26, 2018 at 53-years-old.
According to Maria, over 1,000 people attended her husband’s funeral Mass at the parish church.
“He truly cared about each individual he met,” Maria expressed. “He could have known you for only five minutes and he would have gone out of his way to help you.”