Morris Park Columbus Day Parade organizer passes baton

Tony Signorile, who for 12 years was the volunteer leader of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade Committee, added categories of honorees to the parade like Miss Columbus, a youth scholarship winner and the parade’s honorary grand marshal, who is typically an educator from the community.

One of the borough’s most popular parades is experiencing a ‘passing of the baton’ of leadership.

Tony Signorile, longtime steward of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade, who volunteered for 12 years as the parade committee chair, submitted a letter of resignation recently to the Morris Park Community Association, which sponsors the annual event.

Signorile, himself a former MPCA president from 2013 to 2017, told the Bronx Times that he had accomplished all he wanted to and said he longed to spend more time with his family, including his grandchildren and two adult-children who will soon be getting married.

“I feel that I owe it to the community that they should hear it from me,” said Signorile. “I want to thank them for their support over the years.”

According to Signorile, he was able to institute new honoree categories to the parade during his tenure, including Miss Columbus, a youth scholarship winner, as well as the parade’s honorary grand marshal, an educator from the community.

“I did all I had to do to make the parade a success and reached my goals,” said Signorile, adding “I grew this parade into the second largest Columbus parade in the city, if not the state.”

Signorile said he plans on remaining active with Italian-American causes, including a foundation dedicated to saving Columbus statues and the namesake’s holiday.

He thanked Senator Jeff Klein, former Councilman James Vacca and Al D’Angelo, MPCA president.

D’Angelo said Signorile was one of a long line of parade leaders who dedicated themselves over four decades.

Signorile maintained the standards set by the MPCA for parade, he said.

“Tony was a hard worker who put in the time and effort,” said D’Angelo.

Tony Vitaliano, Community Board 11 chairman, said he had urged Signorile to stay on when he heard that he was planning to step down, adding that Signorile knew everything, including all details large and small, of running the parade.

“I feel that the Bronx Columbus Day Parade is sorely going to miss him,” said Vitaliano.

Chris Alessandro, who Signorile brought on board as a volunteer and who had been parade treasurer, will replace the Signorile.

“Tony really gave a lot more than 100 percent every year,” said Alessandro. “It wasn’t a two-month thing: Tony and I began working on the parade in January.

Alessandro, who Signorile recommended as his successor, acknowledged that he has big shoes to fill, adding: “I am going to miss him for sure.”

“He pushed me to my limit, but that ‘never fail mentality’ motivated me,” said Alessandro.

Alessandro said he would keep striving to make the parade bigger and better every year, by involving more bands, schools and people from the community.

He also said he hopes to have representatives and marching bands from the U.S. Armed Forces back to the parade, and is working on a list of grand marshal possibilities for October.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Chris Alessandro is the new leader of the Bronx Columbus Day Parade for the Morris Park Community Association.
Photo courtesy of Chris Alessandro

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