A familiar face to many will be heading up Morris Park Avenue in a few weeks.
The grand marshal of the 2014 Bronx Columbus Day Parade is Vincent Pastore, the actor best known for his role on The Sopranos.
Pastore, a 3rd generation Italian-American, said he’s proud to represent Italian culture and history at this year’s Columbus Day Parade. He described the Italian values as food, family and friendship, pointing to a culture that comes from the roots of civilizations, the Roman Empire.
“We have such a great heritage,” said Pastore, “It’s an honor to be able to celebrate all that.”
Pastore was born in Port Chester, and was raised in New Rochelle, he said, in an Italian-American neighborhood. He has childhood memories of visiting his grandmother on Arthur Avenue, along with the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden.
He moved to Pelham Bay in the late 80s when he started pursuing acting, he said, after running night clubs in New Rochelle for about 25 years.
“It was hard, I was 42 when I broke into the business,” said Pastore.
The first film he worked on, “True Love,” was filmed in Morris Park. After the success of The Sopranos, he bought a house on City Island, where he said he had been visiting since the 60s.
Pastore said he loved how the island had been preserved over time.
“This is a community within itself,” he said. “Over the bridge you’re in its own world.”
Pastore is still acting, most recently in Woody Allen’s play, Bullets Over Broadway. He also writes, and is in the process of developing his own play based on his bar days in New Rochelle.
Outside of work, he is active in several charitable organizations, including Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the Light of Day Foundation for Parkinson’s disease research, Wounded Warriors, and Self Help Africa.
He’s also working with the Morris Park Community Association on a cancer-related fundraiser for Calvary Hospital. He recently beat prostate cancer.
“I believe in giving back,” Pastore said about his work.
He’s looking forward to the Columbus Day festivities in Morris Park, he said, and is happy to follow fellow actor Chazz Palminteri.
“It’s a huge honor to be a grand marshal,” said Pastore.
The parade will take place on Sunday, October 12, starting at noon at the corner of Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road, and will follow Morris Park Avenue up to Williamsbridge Road.
A special concert will be held at Loretto Park at 5:30 p.m., featuring the Gio Venuto Band.