The Bronx lost a giant last month with the passing of Mike Greco of Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue.
He had been a staple of the community for over half a century and despite having passed away, his legacy will live for a long time here in our borough through the lives he came in contact with and all those he touched.
The New York Times wrote:
A Calabrian immigrant, Mr. Greco arrived in New York in 1947 with his 17-year-old twin brother, Joe, each sporting a new suit and carrying $50. Mike went to work in a Bronx butcher shop, married the boss’s daughter and, in the early 1950s, opened a delicatessen nearby in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, a building housing an array of merchants. His brother became the chef and owner of Joe Nina’s restaurant in the borough’s Pelham Bay section.
Mr. Greco started work at 6 a.m. seven days a week and made Mike’s Deli a place of pilgrimage in the heart of the Bronx’s Little Italy, roughly bounded in the Belmont section by Fordham Road on the north, East 181st Street on the south, Third Avenue on the west and the Bronx Zoo on the east. (The neighborhood’s most famous alumnus is probably Dion DiMucci, whose group, Dion and the Belmonts, plaintively sang in 1959, “Why must I be a teenager in love?”)
Mr. Greco became a fixture in a Bronx enclave that stubbornly resisted change in the second half of the 20th century, when much of the borough, especially to the south, was plagued by crime, white flight, housing abandonment and arson.
BronxNet has put together a wonderful tribute.
Take a look and may he rest in eternal peace.