Boxing champ Jake LaMotta’s ties to the Bronx recalled

Jake and Vikki LaMotta, in a photo taken in 1950 at an undisclosed location.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, free media repository

A local businessman who bought the former Jake LaMotta house on Pelham Parkway North recalled memories of the Bronx boxer who passed away recently in Florida.

LaMotta’s daughter, Christi LaMotta, announced his passing on her Facebook page, “My father, Jake LaMotta July 10, 1922 – September 19, 2017 – Rest in Peace Pop.”

Christi, who pointed out that her dad was champ in 1951 and she was born in 1952, wrote “God bless you Jake LaMotta and now you’re in Heaven with the love of your life, my beloved mother Vikki and your sons, my brothers Jack and Joe LaMotta.”

Wishing to remain anonymous and preferring not to give out the specific address so people don’t come knocking on the door, the businessman actually bought the house from Ben Moss.

Moss, who had a produce business in Hunts Point market, had purchased the house directly from the late boxer.

During LaMotta’s era, the major boxing arena for professional fights in the Bronx was the New York Coliseum, popularly known as the Bronx Coliseum, according to the Bronx County Historical Society Journal, www.houlihanparnes.com/press_releases/in_the_news-5.pdf.

He fought his first fight there in 1933.

Later used as a NYC bus garage and then subsequently torn down, the coliseum was just south of West Farms Square, on the north side of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

LaMotta, also known as ‘The Bronx Bull,’ Tami Mauriello and Barney Ross (the last Lightweight and Welterweight champion during the 1930s) fought at the Bronx Coliseum.

Moss’s daughter, Francine Moss Glansrach, was the third wife to Alexander ‘Sandy’ Farkas, who ran the Alexander’s department store chain founded by his father, George Farkas, in 1928.

The local businessman, who bought LaMotta’s house from Moss, razed it and built a new house on the site, said he “never met LaMotta in person, although I did see him once when he was doing a comedy act in a club in the city.”

“His comedy act was terrible!,” he recalled. “He starts out, he says, ‘You know, my first wife, Boom! Boom! I hit her twice and I knocked her out! My second wife, Boom! Boom! All he did was say Boom! Boom!”

He recalled that LaMotta’s ex-wife, Vikki, who had appeared in Playboy magazine, was the spousee who lived in the house with LaMotta on Pelham Parkway.

“He really beat her (Vikki) bad,” he said, recalling that the actress Cathy Moriarty portrayed Vikki in the movie, ‘Raging Bull.”

Another tie that LaMotta had to the Bronx was his reported financial interest in the former Il Boschetto restaurant, 1660 E. Gun Hill Road, which is now Caridad & Louie.

LaMotta also put his name on a spaghetti sauce, called ‘Jake LaMotta’ sauce, according to the businessman.

According to LaMotta’s website, www.rocketscientists.com/sites/LaMotta.htm, LaMotta called it ‘Tomatta Sauce Marinara, the Sauce of Champions.’

The site introduces it as “LaMotta’s Tomatta Sauce’ made with the finest all-natural ingredients, is the divine inspiration of former middleweight champion Jake ‘Raging Bull’ LaMotta and his son, Joe.”

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at bguiliano@cnglocal.com.

More from Around NYC

>