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Bill Twomey immortalized with street co-naming with Councilman James Vacca, family, friends

Street co-naming for iconic Throggs Neck historian

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman James Vacca and Carol Twomey with the street sign honoring late-local historian Bill Twomey.
Bronx Times
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A longtime fixture in the Throggs Neck community who was one the neighborhood’s historians was posthumously honored with a street co-naming.

Dill Place and Revere Avenue was co-named in Bill Twomey’s memory and a sign was unveiled in his honor at a ceremony that brought together family and friends on Saturday, August 13.

Twomey, the Bronx Times Reporter’s ‘Do You Remember’ columnist for three decades and a book author, was remembered for his analytical mind and for his being an inspiration and mentor to other people who wanted to know more about Throggs Neck and the borough’s history.

The co-founders of the Bronx Times Reporter, John Collazzi and Michael Benedetto attributed the paper’s early success to Bill’s popular columns which first appeared in 1982.

“Shortly after meeting Bill I was amazed that he had an endless number of snippets about local nostalgia at his fingertips, Collazzi said.

“He eagerly accepted an offer to write a column called ‘Throggs Neck Memories’. That column endeared the upstart newspaper to thousands of readers. Bill almost singlehandedly insured the paper’s success,” the former publisher noted.

“Bill was a fixture in Throggs Neck,” said Vacca. “There were very few things in Throggs Neck that Bill was not connected to in a very positive way…by naming the street, I am putting Bill Twomey into the history books.”

Twomey, along with the late John McNamara were Throggs Neck’s historians.

In addition to history, Twomey was an activist, volunteering at local organizations, said Vacca.

These included Star of the Sea Cadets, Throggs Neck Home Owners Association and St. Frances de Chantal Church.

He also worked for the NY Yankees as a tour guide at the old stadium.

Twomey was a founder of the East Bronx History Forum, said the organization’s president Richard Vitacco, stating that Twomey’s newspaper column was an inspiration in his own research.

Vitacco was selected by Twomey to assume EBHF’s leadership before he passed in 2014, and offered ‘words of wisdom’ after the two first met in 2005, he said.

“He inspired me to delve into history,” said Vitacco, adding “I am grateful that he saw the potential in me to nominate me to become president of the history forum.”

Longtime Twomey friend Tom Casey said he first became aware of Bill Twomey through his Bronx Times column.

Twomey’s vision for the EBHF, which meets monthly at the Huntington Free Library, was to bring historical scholarship closer to the eastern part of the borough.

He spread his knowledge of his subjects through lectures, walking tours and presentations that the EBHF today continues, said Casey.

A scholarship essay contest about local history for youth is being established in Twomey’s memory, with details to follow, said Casey.

The late historian’s wife Carol said that the street honor trills her and the entire family.

“The history of the Bronx was very near and dear to his heart,” she said. “We couldn’t be happier that he is being immortalized in history.”

Twomey was a proud graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School.

His working career was spent as a field investigator with Con Edison. His analytical and logical approach to matters was always about getting the facts right, his wife said.

“I always marveled at his mind and how he thought about things,” she said, adding “I was impressed by his magnificent ability to think.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Updated 5:05 pm, July 9, 2018
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