Throggs Neck lost one of its most beloved residents this past week. Cuban Al Vazquez passed away on September 11, 2019. Al was a fixture in our neighborhood since he moved here in the early 1970s.
Al was born in Havana in 1932. He originally settled in Long Island but eventually found his way to Throggs Neck. Al embraced the neighborhood with great gusto and in turn Throggs Neck embraced Al with all it had to offer. Al joined most of the beach clubs, and various organizations in Throggs Neck as his way of letting the neighborhood know that he was ‘all in’ as both a resident and civic minded businessman.
Al opened his bookkeeping business on East Tremont Avenue and prepared income tax forms for a great majority of businesses and residents of the area.
Two of Al’s greatest passions were following Notre Dame football (Al had a tattoo of the ‘Fighting Irish Leprechaun on the side of his calf) and marching with the NYCT Pipes & Drums. Our band would march in parades far and wide. Whether we were marching up 5th Avenue, East Tremont Avenue, McLean Avenue., Pearl River and even Savannah, GA, you could always find a group calling out “Hey Cuban Al!” He was the only person I knew with his own cheering section at each parade. Al loved the band so much, he got his wife, Eileen involved too. Somewhere through all this, he received a second nick name of Irish Al.
He had a great zest for life and always had a smile on his face. Our band also included sons and daughters of some of our members. Al would embrace the young ones and make sure all of them knew how to march in step. He got along with all ages from teenagers to those who were close to his age. (Al was the patriarch of the band).
We got word of his passing just after we completed the annual Throggs Neck Memorial Service. It was as if he waited for us to finish and he knew it was his time. He will be missed by all in the band and by his many neighborhood friends and business associates along East Tremont Avenue.
Throughout history, many great men have come and gone. Most are not mentioned in history books, but when the history of Throggs Neck is written, there will be a chapter entitled ‘Cuban Al.’ Farewell my friend, you will be missed. I was honored to have you as a friend.
NYCT Pipes & Drums