Boston Secor Originals for real, baby!

A ribbon cutting with the children of Boston Secor Houses in 1969 brought Governor Nelson Rockefeller (r) and Mayor John Lindsay (l) to the four-building development for its grand opening.
Photo courtesy of Steven Abel

There were so many good times at Boston Secor Houses in the development’s early years.

Now the first group of tenants from about 40 years ago is looking to remember those experiences in their Baychester nabe.

The Boston Secor Originals – the first tenants in the four-building development on Bivona Street and Reeds Mill Lane when it opened in 1969 and in the years shortly following – is hosting a three-day extravaganza as part of the 3rd Annual Boston Secor Originals Reunion Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 5.

This year’s reunion includes events at Rye Playland on August 3; a party at the Eastwood Manor on August 4 that will include a fashion show, African-Dance performance by the LaRock Bay School of African Dance of Harlem/Darcel Davis-Abel: community service awards.

There will also be a picnic and “old-timers reunion” at Crotona Park, the neighborhood where many of the original residents came from when Boston Secor first opened.

“In the early days of Boston Secor, when the apartment complex was brand new, we had all moved up here from the south Bronx,” said Boston Secor “original” tenant and reunion organizer Steven Abel. “There are just four buildings and we were all close.”

The name “originals” stuck with the core group and became the name for the original tenants in the New York City Housing Authority complex.

It was also a tribute to a deceased Boston Secor “original” named Harold Pope. He would frequently sing “Baby, I’m For Real,” a hit for the band The Originals in 1969, at some of the first talent shows organized by the youth council in Boston Secor in 1969 and the early 1970s, Abel said. Pope passed away in the 1980s.

This year’s event will pay special tribute to the volunteers who organized youth programs, including talent shows and sports, in the early years, Abel said.

The Boston Secor Originals are also honoring the Golden Glow Cookie Factory, at 1844 Givan Avenue, and its owners, the Florio family.

Many of the Originals remember visiting the cookie factory on their way to and from the Haffen Pool, said one of the Golden Glow owners, Mike Florio.
“My mom is the founder of the company, and she is going to be accepting the award,” Florio said. “In those days, my mom was behind the counter and whatever money the kids had in their pockets they would get some cookies, often a little extra.”

The reunion is expected to attract “originals” from all over the United States, said fellow organizer John Hill.

For more information about the reunion, which is $125 per person with a souvenir T-shirt and $115 per person without one, call Abel at (917) 753-2723 or e-mail him at

For more information on Golden Glow Cookie Factory, call (718) 379-6223 or go to

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

Boston Secor “original” Harold Pope was an inspiration for reunion organizer Steven Abel, and the “Boston Secor Originals.”
Photo courtesy of Steven Abel

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