New Yorkers lost to coronavirus


One of the many things that this pandemic has taken away from us is the opportunity to comfort mourning. At the moment, at least, we cannot attend a funeral mass or grave, nor visit the homes of friends and family members who suddenly and shockingly lost someone they loved. On Monday, there were 4,758 deaths from coronavirus in New York State, including 2,738 in New York alone. In New Jersey, there were 1,003 dead and 206 in Connecticut.


The plague does not discriminate. In the past three weeks, it has taken firefighters and social workers, Holocaust survivors and classic car collectors, doctors and dragsters, parents and priests. We will all miss each other.

Over time, we will be able to kiss again. For now, all we can do is remember their lives through the eyes of those who know them best: family, friends and colleagues.

Here are some of the many people we have lost. May their good works live after them, inspiring us all to be our best, most compassionate in their honor.

Janice Preschel, 60, Teaneck, NJ

Janice Preschel, 60, Teaneck, NJ
Janice Preschel, 60, Teaneck, NJDanielle Richards

About six years ago, vasculitis stole Preschel’s sight. But that hasn’t diminished her passion for serving: there hasn’t been a day without her at Helping Hands, the Teaneck pantry that she co-founded in 2008.

And when Preschel died last week at the Holy Name medical center in Teaneck, victim of the coronavirus, a community cried.

“She had her disability, but that never stopped her,” recalls Paul Ostrow, the former mayor of Teaneck who says that Preschel was “pressuring” him to join his beloved Rotary Club, although ‘he didn’t have time. “She was a catalyst – the kind of person who wanted to involve others to help her do good too. “

Neighbors remember her as an adored aunt of seven nieces and nephews, and unrelated but committed parents of what appears to be most of Teaneck, where the Massachusetts native spent about half her life.

“Almost everyone called her Aunt Janice or Aunt J,” said her sister-in-law, Claire Preschel, with whom she lived after being blind. “She was a big fan of Teaneck youth sports – soccer, wrestling, soccer, volleyball – before she lost her sight and after.”

Preschel was not only the director of the pantry, says Danielle Richards, president of the Rotary Club, but the former social worker served on several community councils and the synagogue’s social action committee. “She was very kind, always smiling and had a mean sense of humor,” says Richards. “She adored Teaneck. She knew everything that was going on in town. Richards says their last conversation was at the hospital. “She told me how exhausted the nurses were in intensive care and how they couldn’t cook, so what could we do?” So we thought about buying them gift cards, helping them and local businesses that were always open to take out and deliver. “

Preschel died on March 30. The following day, Teaneck City Manager – whom Preschel spoke to the Rotary Club about COVID-19 a few weeks ago – ordered that all flags of the city be flown at half-mast.

What about these gift cards for overworked nurses? By that time, says Richards, Rotary had raised over $ 1,100 for Preschel’s last charity event.

Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, Brooklyn

Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, Brooklyn
Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay, 49, BrooklynDeSales Media Group

Father Vincenzo Cardilicchia, 48, remembers his mentor Ortiz-Garay, who died on March 27

“When you become an ordained priest, you discover that there is so much that you did not learn in the seminary. Your mentor shapes your relationship with people and Father Jorge was my mentor. I learned a lot from him when I took my first steps in the priesthood. Father Jorge was very close to everyone and very easy going. He visited family homes in the afternoon at night. People were looking for him for advice – not only to receive a word from God, but also for advice. He had the charisma of a leader and he was always available. He helped me not only to be a clerical and institutionalized priest, but also, as Pope Francis says, to be a living shepherd with the smell of sheep. “

Tommy Carney, 70, Queens

Tommy Carney, 70, Queens
Tommy Carney, 70, QueensThomas carney

Carney’s son and NYPD officer Tom Carney, 41, remembers his father, who died on March 27.

“If there is one thing about my father that people remember, it is his presence. He was a big guy with a big voice. To know him was to love him, but even if you did not know him, he would at least make sure to hear him. He was in many ways larger than life. A robust sailor, but a gentle soul.

“My father was the brightest person I have ever known. He could find the most witty answer to any situation and immediately put everyone at ease. His sense of humor was legendary and I was always jealous of his ability to remember so many jokes. He had a joke for everything. Even if the joke wasn’t that funny or you’ve heard it said a hundred times, his own laugh that followed his jokes would force even the most distant to laugh.

“I was told that this unique sense of humor had made him loved by all during his 35-year career as a justice officer at the Queens Family Court – a place that can often be depressing and chaotic. An esteemed judge recently told my mother that her efficiency and optimistic attitude had made her job easier.

“The same can be said of his other work, that of Fashion Week security. His professionalism, tact and, of course, his sense of humor have been the mainstays of the shows for 25 years. Everyone who has ever met him, even once, remembers and respects him. I would say that says a lot about my father’s character.

“I don’t know what it feels like to be the son of a celebrity, but I would bet it’s like being Tommy Carney’s son. Every time I was introduced to someone who knew my father, the look and the handshake (or hug) I received filled me with a huge sense of pride. But it was no surprise to me. I always knew my father was the best.

“Of all the jobs my father ever held, the one he was most proud of was dad for his six wonderful grandchildren. His face lit up every time he saw them, just like theirs when they saw him. Her love and pride in them was unmatched. I can be reassured to know that her life on Earth was filled with so much love, both given and received. He will be greatly missed. “

Madeline Geremia, 79, Queens

Madeline Geremia, 79, Queens
Madeline Geremia, 79, QueensTheresa Apostolo

Geremia loved her family, her Catholic faith and Frank Sinatra, but not necessarily in that order.

“Growing up, I knew each [Sinatra] song, every word, ”says Theresa Apostolo of her mother, who died on Sunday at the Dry Harbor Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center in Middle Village. “She always had it on the stereo and her photos all over the house. She even saw him several times. “

The Manhattan native went to Catholic schools and, at age 20, married his childhood girlfriend Joseph who died in 2003. They raised four children together in Queens.
“She was a little rough around the edges, but she cared deeply for her children,” says Apostolo. “You couldn’t touch us! She was a big bear mom, believe me, and she was not one to play with. . . But she had a good heart. If someone saw something in their wall unit they liked, like a curiosity or a statue, they would say, “Here, take it.” “

In recent years, she has suffered from dementia, sparing him the knowledge that one of her sons died from a heart attack.

“She said to me:” When I leave, make sure that my white dress and my heels are in place and that my Frank Sinatra records are playing at the funeral home! “”, Explains Apostolo.

She promises to follow her mother’s wishes.

Karl Birenbaum, 93, Howard Beach

Karl Birenbaum (second from right), 93, Howard Beach
Karl Birenbaum (second from right), 93, Howard BeachCourtesy

“I am the last of the Mohicans,” said Birenbaum – one of the few Holocaust survivors. On March 29, longtime resident of Howard Beach died of COVID-19. He was 93 years old.

Until his final days, said Steven Kief, a friend of the family from Irvington, New York, his mind was still so bright.

“He was a neighbor of my family in the small town of Radom, Poland,” says Kief, 72. “Karl’s father owned a sawmill and got jobs for my father and uncle. When [the Nazis] started taking everyone, they hid in the woods. . . It’s crazy to think about what they’ve been through and how something like that takes it. “

Kief, whose parents and uncle died years ago, calls former watchmaker Bulova “the link to my roots.” He says Birenbaum helped organize a society for the people of Radom and their descendants, and maintained it for two generations. Every Sunday before Yom Kippur, families gathered in a cemetery for a memorial service for the 6 million Jews lost in the Holocaust. “Karl would always bring something to eat afterwards,” says Kief. “Honey cake, spongecake. . . He had set up these little tables for all these gifts. “

He also valued women, says Kief of Birenbaum, whose wife died about five years ago. “He was always a little close to him and he loved my wife, Cindy. “How is my girlfriend?” “, He said. And she loved him too. He was a character – simple, honest and direct. “

The Birenbaums have had no children, and their nieces and nephews live in Canada and in Israel. “They organized a funeral [March 30] thanks to Zoom, ”says Kief. “You know, his birth name was not Karl, it was Kaddish,” traditionally said prayer for the dead. “The irony is that they couldn’t say Kaddish for him because they didn’t have a minyan. “

Nashom Wooden, 50, East Village

Nashom Wooden, 50, East Village
Nashom Wooden (right), 50, East VillageCourtesy of Geoffrey Mac

Wooden, who died on March 23, is remembered by his friend, fashion designer Geoffrey Mac, 43.

“Nashom was my best friend. He was a magnificent and magnificent man, and talented in many ways. He wrote songs, worked on a bunch of reality shows – and things were brewing for him as he changed careers from a successful drag performer [known as Mona Foot]. He was very guarded and had this protective fortress around him – but when you climbed those walls, he was the most caring man and he was so supportive. In February, right after I returned from winning Project Runway, we hosted a dinner in the East Village. . . I’m really shy in front of the camera and I have social anxieties, but he convinced me to do the show. I fought my fears and I won. He started to cry, saying that I was his hero. Together, we shared laughs and so many songs. He really had that fire. “

Angelo Piro, 87, Staten Island

Angelo Piro, 87, Staten Island
Angelo Piro, 87, Staten IslandCourtesy of the Piro family

Lea Vischio, 56, remembers her father, who died on March 30

“You could call my father the mayor – everyone knew him. He was very dedicated to the St. Ann Church community in Dongan Hills, and was a proud veteran of the Korean War Air Force. He still wore his baseball cap with the veterans patch, and people thanked him for his service. He was active in community theater and dressed up as Santa Claus every year. Newspapers were also his life. He didn’t just read The Post every day – he was a longtime New York Post press secretary from 1966. My fondest memory is going to the factory, then South Manhattan, to visit. Whenever my father was with us children, everyone treated us very well and gave us newspaper hats. He had ink on his hands while working on the machines, and when he saw a paper that didn’t look good, he said: “Ah, someone messed up the prints!” He was at the top of the New York Newspaper Printing Pressmen’s. Union, and he was very proud of it. He was really a personality. “

Al Tobia, 70, of Denville, NJ

Al Tobia, 70, of Denville, NJ
Al Tobia, 70, of Denville, NJCourtesy of Jenn Tobia

Jennifer James, 38, of Cedar Grove, NJ, remembers her father, who died on March 28

“My father never missed anything important. My way to connect with him was through sport. I was kicked out of the ninth grade basketball team and he suggested I start running, so I did that – and in the senior year, I was a track university athlete. During my meetings, he was not the kind of parent who sat on the bench with the other parents. He went to see me play. During a big race, I went out and ran very fast, then in the last half mile I fell behind and I couldn’t believe it was happening. After that, I remember sitting on the bumper of his Volvo with him, crying, and he said, “Hey, it doesn’t matter. He was the only one I wanted to see when I failed. He was still there. “

Javi Rodriguez, 43, of North Bergen, NJ

Javi Rodriguez, 43, of North Bergen, NJ
Javi Rodriguez, 43, of North Bergen, NJCourtesy of Andrea McKenna

Jersey City artist Andrea McKenna, 49, remembers her friend Rodriguez, who died on April 1

“Javi and I met at a craft fair in Jersey City in 2010, and we have become best friends. She loved live music – live music and dance parties were her thing – and she was a great art lover. Between 2014 and 2017, we ran the Raven Gallery & Boutique in Jersey City, with only handmade items from local artists, including jewelry she designed. I am a decorative painter and we have pushed and encouraged each other creatively.

“Javi was also a social worker at a high school in East Rutherford. A young person she helped was gay and his parents kicked him out and he became homeless for a while. She encouraged him to go ahead and found the right resources to help him. Years later, he returned and thanked her. She heard many of these stories and I said to her, “You have to remember that you helped them do it.”

Steve Steiner, 75, Queens

Steve Steiner, 75, Queens
Steve Steiner, 75, QueensAndrea Steiner

For Steiner, the Yankee Stadium was heaven on earth. The longtime journalist and retired director of public relations, who died on March 30, was born in the Bronx, and has never stopped looking for his local team.

“He went to the games on his own when he was little because he was within walking distance of the house,” said Andrea Steiner, one of his two children. She says her father studied history at Columbia University, earning both a master’s degree and a love of life for her subject. “He was reading these gigantic hardcover story books on the subway,” she said. “He was not just a history buff. He was an expert in history. “

It was far from her only interest, she said. He loved travel and foreign languages ​​- he taught himself Portuguese – and his love of classical music inspired his son David to become a musician. He was also crazy about cats. “When he was little, my grandparents couldn’t find him for hours,” says Andrea. “Finally, they found it in the basement of the building because the super had cats. She says he liked to name the family cats after food – hence Muffin and Pudding.

But his greatest legacy, says his daughter, was his morality.

“He had a sense of good and bad,” says Andrea. “He taught me to be responsible. He was so honest. “

Joe Lewinger, 42, Long Island

Joe Lewinger, 42, Long Island
Joe Lewinger, 42, Long IslandDenis Gostev

Even when he started at the Mary Louis Academy for Girls in Jamaica Estates, Queens, Lewinger had a reputation for being kind and supportive.

“He was just a college kid when I first met him,” recalls former student Jacqueline Giaccio, 36, of the beloved basketball coach who became assistant manager. “He was determining the school temperature, and a lot of anxious female students – it was not an easy job.”

Tributes continue to pour in for Lewinger, who died on March 28, leaving behind his wife Maura, their three children – and countless current and former students who, according to Giaccio, called him Buddy Lew.

On top of everything else, he was a gentleman: “He held all the doors, made sure we got home safely, and took his wife to one of their first dates with my senior prom, “she said. “I stayed in touch with him to tell him about my growing career, and he always took the time.”

Frank Gabrin, 60, Upper East Side

Frank Gabrin, 60, Upper East Side
Frank Gabrin, 60, Upper East SideArnold Vargas

In August, emergency doctor Gabrin married Arnold Vargas – “the love of his life,” said friend Debra Vasalech Lyons.

On March 31, Gabrin died in the arms of Vargas.

“He was delighted to get married. He is starting a chapter in his life, ”says Lyons, a friend of Gabrin for 20 years and witness to his marriage at the town hall. “He was the happiest Frank had ever been. . . They were taking care of each other, planning for the kids – this whole story of pickets. That was it. “

Gabrin, who survived cancer twice, was also a “workaholic,” adds Lyons – but in a good way.

“His whole mission in life was to put care back into health care. He went into health care to help people, ”she says. This included his colleagues. “Frank was the doctor who brought lunch to everyone he worked with. “

Gabrin, who worked at East Orange General Hospital, will leave an indelible mark on those close to him, says Lyons.

“Frank faced death every day and that didn’t stop him from caring and improving things – and now we have to say the same thing. “

Josh Wallwork, 45, Astoria

Josh Wallwork, 45, Astoria
Josh Wallwork, 45, Astoria

Last week, cast members of the Law & Order: SVU team mourned the loss of their revered costume designer – but making costumes was hardly Wallwork’s only talent.

As his mother, Deborah Wallwork, recalls, her son played just about every instrument in his school orchestra in Arizona, except for the trumpet and trombone.

But he found his greatest passion very early, when he learned to sew at the age of 5. “He would sit at my sewing machine and put stuff through the machine,” she said. “He didn’t do anything, but he loved it. “

After taking design and art classes in his early 20s, he moved to Houston and was a costume designer for the city’s famous opera house. Even so, says his mother, he wanted to live elsewhere.

“He wanted to go to New York forever,” she says. About four years ago, Josh moved to where he always wanted to be, working for “Law & Order” and “Madam Secretary”.

“New York kissed him,” said Deborah. “He loved working on shows. He said, “This job is the best.” “

Rabbi Asher Heber, 81, Crown Heights

Rabbi Asher Heber, 81, Crown Heights
Rabbi Asher Heber, 81, Crown HeightsCJ Studios

“When people see a Hasidic man with a beard, they think he is provincial. But my father was a Renaissance man, ”says Brocha Metzger of his father, the longtime rebbe of the Manhattan Day School yeshiva. Heber, who died Thursday, April 2, “has always had a pile of books and has particularly loved two genres: science fiction and medieval history. The way he died could have fallen into either category. “

Father of four and great-grandfather Heber “has always enjoyed exploring the world as knowledge unfolds,” says Metzger. “He took us to museums. “Stay hungry for knowledge, always grow your mind” were his mantras and his passions were endless.

“He was a calm guy. He was happy to stay at home and listen to classical music. He had thousands of CDs of classical music in alphabetical order, and God help anyone who ruined everything. “

But he had expanded his musical repertoire during the summer, when he and his family made trips to the state of Bungalow Colony.

“He would sing” 100 bottles of beer on the wall “and a crazy collection of songs,” says Metzger. “He was a fun-loving guy – the king of car travel.”

Jimmy Villecco, 54, Staten Island

Jimmy Villecco, 54, Staten Island
Jimmy Villecco, 54, Staten IslandJoy Villecco

The FDNY Villecco mechanic was a serious car guy.

“He loved classic cars,” says his wife, Joy. “He was a Chevy guy. He loved his 1960s Chevy Impala. “He even founded a car show at Tottenville High School in 2016, and it was” his pride and joy. “

Jimmy was also an army man, she said, and a fierce patriot.

“When the national anthem played, my Jimmy cried,” she said. “He’s the kind of man he was. He was American from start to finish. “

But the most important thing in his world was the family: his 19-year-old wife and their 18-year-old daughter, Jessica. Jimmy even sold his beloved Impala to help pay for Jessica’s next tuition.

“His family was his life,” said Joy, who sang their wedding song, “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder, as he fought for his life in the hospital.

A few months ago, Joy and Jimmy went together to Bradley Beach, New Jersey, to find the gazebo where he had proposed 20 years ago.

“He wanted to go back and find the place – we took a picture,” says Joy.

“Whatever we did, we took advantage of these special moments for us. He was always there for us. God gave me a good man. Villecco died on March 28.

Isaac Erlich, 78, Upper West Side

Isaac Erlich, 78, Upper West Side
Isaac Erlich, 78, Upper West SideJordana Levine

Born in Kazakhstan and relegated to an IDP camp in Germany, Erlich came to the United States at the age of 9 and became a real New Yorker.

“He loved going to the theater,” says his daughter, Jordana Levine, of his father, who died on March 28 at the age of 78. She remembers the way he and her younger brother drove her from their home in Park Slope to see a show, invariably parking their car next to the “gentlemen’s club” in Private Eyes.

The former teacher and guidance counselor entered the property, but his heart, says Jordana, belonged to music: “He could belt songs and he liked Pointer Sisters. “

He was protective, she said – so much so that when he was forced to have a prostate operation, he didn’t talk to him about it until years later. He was also discreet in his generosity.

“He loved doing things for people with no expectations,” she says. “My cousin went to private school while growing up, and he sent money anonymously for school fees – without his sister knowing. “

A major in art history, he enjoyed going to museums and antique exhibitions, but his greatest love, says Jordana, was for his three grandchildren.

Last month, when their youngest son was 13, the family decided to postpone their bar mitzvah. That didn’t stop Erlich, who liked to make a joke, from sending his grandson a birthday card spouting from the bar mitzvah that was not. “He was always teasing,” says Jordana. “But that was his nature. He had so much love. “

Lauretta Brandes Freeman, 97, Montclair, NJ

Lauretta Brandes Freeman, 97, Montclair, NJ
Lauretta Brandes Freeman, 97, Montclair, NJSusan Galatz

Freeman was a difficult woman to say no.

“She was very convincing,” recalls Sylvia Pfeffer, with whom the longtime resident of Montclair, NJ, ran an educational counseling service. “We were going to a conference in New Mexico in 2001, and she was going through the brochure and said,” They have balloons! Make a check, here we go! ” When Pfeffer refused, Freeman, then 78, persisted.

“Yes, you are!” She said, “recalls Pfeffer. “I was so happy to have done it. “

Freeman died on March 24. Pfeffer says her friend and business partner became a teenage activist when she asked the Board of Education to add Hebrew to French and Spanish lessons at her Bronx high school.

“And she made them do it too,” says Pfeffer.

A graduate of Hunter College and a mother of two, Freeman helped found the Montclair Cooperative School in 1963. In his later years, Freeman organized free buses to take residents from nursing homes to the Montclair Art Museum and the Dollar Store. She was also a fervent folk dancer and a supporter of peace and integration.

In a 2011 interview, she recalled how, in the 1950s, she climbed up and down her beloved Stephen Street with a red umbrella, urging her neighbors not to move, even though real estate agents told them that their homes would lose value when black families move in. The fact that her street remained diverse more than half a century later meant a lot to her, says Pfeffer.

“Her neighbors on Stephen Street still want her there.”

William Helmreich, 74, tall neck

William Helmreich, 74, tall neck
William Helmreich, 74, tall neckStephen Yang

Helmreich’s fame is that he has traveled every block of New York.

For his family, however, the pedestrian walks of ancient Manhattanite – which led to almost 20 pounds, including “The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City” – were only a marker of the fearless spirit of the sociologist.

“When we got married in 1970, he said to me, ‘We could do a honeymoon in France or in the Catskills – or you could come with me to Haiti. “I chose to accompany him to Haiti,” said his novelist. said his wife, Helaine, 73.

“It has always been an adventure. It was a wonderful adventure, ”says Helaine of her 50-year marriage to longtime professor at City College in New York City who died on March 28 at their home in Great Neck.

He often invited his relatives to his urban hikes. Son Joe Helmreich, a 37-year-old novelist who lives on the Upper West Side, remembers a summer getaway in Queens that included a stop at “a magnificent hand-carved carousel” in Forest Park as well as “the houses childhood of famous jazz athletes and singers “in the enclave of Addisleigh Park in St. Albans. During his walks, Helmreich, nicknamed Bill or Willy, chatted with strangers on almost every block.

“He could interview all the mayors of New York,” said Joe, who survived Helmreich with his brothers and sisters Jeffrey Helmreich, 46, and Deborah Halpern, 34. “And then he was able to interview the military chief of Hamas at his home. And he could ask the members of the Bloods, “Where can I find a jacket like that?” » Il était absolument sans peur. “

Tanasia Shakia Alamo, 25 ans, Staten Island

Tanasia Shakia Alamo, 25 ans, Staten Island
Tanasia Shakia Alamo, 25 ans, Staten IslandSheila Alamo

Tanasia était «la personne la plus douce que vous rencontrerez», explique la maman Sheila Alamo de Staten Island. Bien qu’elle ait surmonté de nombreux problèmes de santé depuis sa naissance (Tanasia est née avec le syndrome de Down et a eu une multitude de problèmes de santé au début de la vie), elle était connue de sa famille et de ses amis comme la «ministre des câlins».

« Elle a touché tellement de gens », a déclaré Alamo au Post. «Quiconque l’a rencontrée pendant 10 minutes pouvait dire qu’elle avait quelque chose de spécial.»

Tanasia, décédée le 31 mars, adorait la lutte, en particulier les «Divas de la WWE», Roman Reigns et The Rock. Elle aimait aussi chanter et écouter de la musique gospel, Beyoncé et «tout ce qui se passait dans l’émission« Glee », raconte sa maman. Tanasia est diplômée de l’école Hungerford de Staten Island.

Le 23 mars, Tanasia ne se sentait pas bien. Après avoir appelé la hotline coronavirus, Alamo a amené Tanasia aux urgences le 24 avec de la fièvre.

«Ils n’arrêtaient pas de dire que je ne devrais pas être à l’hôpital et que je m’exposais au virus, mais je ne pouvais pas la quitter», explique Alamo, qui a été initialement autorisée à rester en raison du handicap de Tanasia. Le 28 mars, Tanasia a été mise sous ventilateur et Sheila a été invitée à rentrer chez elle. Le 31, Tanasia a pris son dernier souffle.

« J’ai dormi plus tard que la normale … et Dieu m’a réveillé en disant que Nay passait », explique Alamo. «J’ai appelé et j’ai appris qu’elle avait eu du mal toute la nuit et était décédée.»

Dévastée, la famille de Tanasia a créé un GoFundMe pour couvrir les frais funéraires. Ils ont atteint leur objectif de 10 000 $ en moins d’une journée. La famille prévoit d’organiser bientôt des funérailles et fera face à TimeTime le service de Staten Island, afin que tous les amis et la famille de Tanasia puissent être là.

Marc Castelli, 50 ans, Manhattan

Marc Castelli, 50 ans, Manhattan
Marc Castelli, 50 ans, ManhattanJen Alleva

Il était connu par des milliers de New-Yorkais sous le nom d’Ursula.

Pendant plus de 10 ans, Castelli, décédé le 23 mars à l’âge de 50 ans, a été serveur de chant au piano-bar West Village Marie’s Crisis. Un rendez-vous les mardis, vendredis et samedis soirs, sa chanson la plus connue sur le spot de showtunes était « Poor Unfortunate Souls » de « The Little Mermaid ».

« Mesdames, mesdames – et les deux messieurs qui sont ici », commençait la gentille chanteuse émoussée, déplorant que « nous étions un bar gay! “

Castelli est né dans le Bronx en 1969 et a ensuite déménagé avec sa famille à Yorktown Heights. Il a passé ses années d’adulte à vivre dans le haut de Manhattan, mais est resté proche de ses proches – en particulier ses neveux et nièces: Anthony, Nicky, JJ, Vinny, Frankie, Trista, Lina et Lilli.

« Marc a été l’une des premières personnes que j’ai rencontrées lorsque j’ai commencé à travailler chez Marie il y a 19 ans », a déclaré le barman de longue date Joseph O’Neill. « Il était un grand ours d’un gars qui aimait Broadway, pouvait en parler à votre oreille et était un homme bon tout autour. “

Également acteur, Castelli a joué le rôle d’Edna dans une production de 2013 de la comédie musicale «Hairspray». Mais c’est sa performance en tant que méchante de Disney qui lui a valu une reconnaissance internationale.

Lors d’une croisière de vacances pour son 50e anniversaire en août, deux femmes l’ont approché avec enthousiasme.

« Ursula !, » crièrent-ils.

Ben Luderer, 30 ans, Cliffside Park, NJ

Ben Luderer, 30 ans, Cliffside Park, NJ
Ben Luderer, 30 ans, Cliffside Park, NJFacebook

Ce n’était pas choquant quand Luderer, un enseignant ayant des besoins spéciaux et entraîneur de baseball, a été diagnostiqué avec le coronavirus: sa femme, Brandy, avait été diagnostiquée le 19 mars et avait un cas bénin.

Mais son décès soudain le 30 mars a été une surprise pour tout le monde, car le jeune homme de 30 ans n’avait aucun problème de santé sous-jacent.

Luderer a commencé à remarquer des symptômes quelques jours après le diagnostic de Brandy. Vendredi 27 mars, il est allé à l’hôpital. Il a été traité avec de l’oxygène et renvoyé chez lui.

Tôt lundi matin, après une nuit de fièvre et de « transpiration dans ses vêtements », Brandy a trouvé Luderer mort dans son lit.

«Il me faut chaque once pour passer à travers cela», a déclaré Brandy au Post. «Nous devons tous nous unir et prendre cette pandémie au sérieux. Je ne peux pas croire que c’est la vraie vie. “

Brandy, également enseignant aux besoins spéciaux et entraîneur d’athlétisme dans le New Jersey, dit que Luderer a toujours été de bonne humeur. Il aimait sa famille, ses étudiants et entraîneur de baseball. Au lycée, Luderer était membre de l’équipe invaincue de championnat d’État Don Bosco Preparatory High School 2008.

«Il était juste un type de gars heureux et polyvalent», dit Brandy. «Il faisait tout son possible pour remonter le moral de quelqu’un d’autre. Chaque image que nous avons de lui, il avait constamment un sourire sur son visage. Il a touché tant de vies. Il en aurait aidé tellement plus. “

Brandy dit que, malgré son propre diagnostic, Luderer a passé ses derniers jours à vérifier la famille et les amis et à s’assurer que tout le monde allait bien.

«Il était toujours inquiet pour tout le monde. He was checking up on his parents to make sure they were staying inside,” Brandy says. “That’s the type of guy he was. Selfless.”

Bucky Pizzarelli, 94, Saddle River, NJ

Bucky Pizzarelli, 94, Saddle River, NJ
Bucky Pizzarelli, 94, Saddle River, NJWireImage

Most musicians cap off a gig with a shot or two of whisky. Jazz guitarist Pizzarelli preferred the malted-milk drink Ovaltine, with a cookie chaser.

“When he got sick four years ago, I posted ‘Have an Ovaltine for Bucky,’ ” his son, the guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, tells The Post. “And he got better!”

Pizzarelli, who died on April 1, performed into his 90s, even after suffering a stroke and a bout of pneumonia. The Paterson, NJ-born father of four shot to fame with his seven-string guitar, touring with Benny Goodman and playing in Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” band. When Carson moved the show to California, Pizzarelli stayed in New Jersey, because that’s where his kids were going to school.

One of the earliest things John remembers was hearing his father “constantly practicing” classical guitar, even as a Who’s Who of jazz greats streamed into their home: saxophonist Zoot Sims, guitarist Les Paul and bassist Slam Stewart among them. (“As my wife” — singer Jessica Molaskey — “likes to say, ‘No one had a normal name!’ ”)

“I just liked listening to them and their stories,” he continues. “I thought the only way to be part of that group was to get good enough to play with them.” He started taking tenor banjo lessons with a great uncle, the same one who’d taught his father, and let his dad steer him from there.

They assembled a repertoire and performed “anywhere and everywhere” together for a decade, starting in 1990.

“Someone once asked me what I learned from him,” John says. “It was always ‘Get to the airport early.’ Twenty years before 9/11, we were always getting to the airport two hours before. He never wanted to miss a plane.”

Priscilla Carrow, 65, Queens

Priscilla Carrow, 65, Queens
Priscilla Carrow, 65, QueensKeyana Reaves

Carrow — an administrator at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, and a longtime member of the Communications Workers of America Local 1180 union — was set to retire at the end of this year.

“She had a countdown clock on her phone,” Keyana Reaves, 29, tells The Post of her mother, who passed away March 30. “We were looking forward to traveling together.”

Elmhurst Hospital, where Carrow worked, has become one of the hardest-hit hospitals in New York City. The family says Carrow was self-quarantining due to a possible exposure when she became sick.

Reaves, who traveled to New York from Georgia to help take care of her mom’s estate, is in disbelief.

“I’ll continue to speak to you and look for your guidance whenever I am lost,” she wrote on Facebook the day after her mother’s passing. “I’m so heartbroken but I know I have to continue to be the strong woman you taught me how to be.”

Anick Jesdanun, 51, Yorkville

Anick Jesdanun, 51, Yorkville
Anick Jesdanun, 51, YorkvilleAP

Jesdanun was a world traveler and, after discovering running in his 30s, an avid marathoner. The deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, he ran a whopping 83 marathons on seven continents — completing the NYC race 15 times.

“Nick,” as he was known to family and friends, died on April 2 at the age of 51.

“He had an insatiable desire for the truth on topics ranging from government to the latest smartphone,” his brother, Gary Jesdanun, 46, an LA resident, tells The Post. He was also an indie film and craft-beer buff.

Cousin Prinda Mulpramook says that Nick was the “picture of health,” with no “underlying health problems.” He tested positive for the virus on March 22 after feeling sick for around 10 days, according to text messages he sent to his family.

“He did everything he was supposed to do,” Mulpramook tells The Post. “His condition was improving. He was resting in his apartment in complete isolation. On the 28th, all his vitals were good at his doctor check-up. His lungs were clear.”

But on April 1, Anick told his family he was in bed all day and having a setback. After a trip to the ER the following day, he passed away at the hospital 13 hours later.

“I invite everyone to raise a pint in his honor,” says Gary.

Alan Merrill, 69, Manhattan

Alan Merrill, 69, Manhattan
Alan Merrill, 69, ManhattanGetty Images

The “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” singer was a rocker until the very end.

“This happened so quickly, our heads are still spinning,” Merrill’s daughter, Laura, tells The Post of her dad, who co-wrote and sang the original version of the hit song with his band, the Arrows, in 1975. He died Sunday, March 29, at Mount Sinai Hospital.

“His last gig was on March 13 — he was downtown, on stage doing his thing,” she says. “He was 69 acting like he’s 40 years old. I just shot his album cover, because he had a new album coming out.”

She and her stepmother, Joanna Lisanti, are still in shock. They said goodbye to Merrill in the hospital.

“He was very peaceful and sedated on a ventilator, which was shocking to see,” says Laura. “He had been texting me that morning. I was hugging and kissing him; I didn’t care if I was exposed. When I left the hospital, it was a very long and lonely walk home . . . By the time I got home, he was gone.”

Joan Jett, who sang the famous 1982 cover of Merrill’s song, paid tribute to the rocker on Twitter.

“I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song,” she writes. “With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.”

Vincent Lionti, 60, Upper West Side

Vincent Lionti, 60, Upper West Side
Vincent Lionti, 60, Upper West SideGetty Images

There wasn’t a time Kathy Lionti Byrne doesn’t remember her big brother Vinnie playing the violin or piano, both of which he started playing at age 4.

“He would practice from morning to night,” says Byrne. “It was sheer magic in the house.”

Lionti, who died April 3, later took up the viola, which he played for the last 32 years with the Metropolitan Opera’s orchestra. He was also a teacher and conductor of the Greater Westchester Youth Orchestra, and was honored by the Met for his service. But his sister loved hearing him play elsewhere: at their church, where Lionti and his father performed every year at the Christmas Eve mass.

“The joy he had for performing really touched people,” she says of her brother, who was also a teacher and whose young son, Nicholas, appeared as an extra in the Met’s productions of “Nixon in China” and “Macbeth.”

“There was a connection between the audience members of every age and Vincent,” she says. “I don’t know how he did it.”

Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, Hell’s Kitchen

Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, Hell’s Kitchen
Kious Jordan Kelly, 48, Hell’s Kitchenjoanne.loo.9

Kelly, a nurse manager at Mount Sinai West in Manhattan, was the first health-care worker in New York City known to have died from the virus.

He had been hospitalized for a week prior to his passing on March 24. His death has sparked worldwide outrage after a photo showing nurses at his workplace using garbage bags as personal protective equipment went viral.

“My brother had a passion for life,” his sister Marya Sherron, of Indianapolis, tells The Post. “My life will never be the same.”

Sherron says that Kelly was a “defender of the weak.” “He had big dreams and was determined enough to live them out,” she adds.

Kelly graduated from the New York University nursing program in 2012. Nurses at Mount Sinai previously told The Post that Kelly was “like a brother” and always “willing to help others in need, especially in this coronavirus outbreak.”

Kelly’s last words to his sister via text were “I love you.”

“Can’t talk because I choke and can’t breathe. I love you. Going back to sleep,” he wrote.

Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, 86, Riverdale

Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, 86, Riverdale
Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, 86, RiverdaleTyrone Stevens

Long before Scott Stringer became NYC’s comptroller, his mother was a politically active trailblazer.

The Brooklyn-born, Bronx-bred Arlene Stringer-Cuevas, who died April 3 at 86, was a public school teacher in the late ’50s. A single mother of two boys, she somehow also found the time to teach English to new immigrants at the Washington Heights Y in the ’60s and early ’70s.

She plunged headlong into politics in 1976, when she became the first woman on the City Council to represent Washington Heights. “So many people in those days would say to her, ‘Why aren’t you home taking care of your husband?’ ” Scott Stringer recalls. “To which she said, ‘Well, I don’t have a husband.’ She was a New York original.”

He credits her with shaping far more than his career. “She taught my brother and me that public service must be part of life, to do for others,” he says. “People say she encouraged me to run, but the truth is, if she had her way, she would have protected us from that public life.”

Still, she was no shrinking violet. “She was tough as nails,” says Stringer. “In my campaigns, she was like a bulldozer. She looked out for me for every race I ran.”

Stringer recalls his mother’s final political act was holding a fund-raiser in her home two years ago for State Senate candidate Alessandra Biaggi, saying, “My life as a woman in politics was worth it to see so many young women now running for office.”

“She believed she needed to be a trailblazer for the next generation of women,” adds Stringer.

Dr. Ricardo Castaneda, 64, Westchester, NY

Dr. Ricardo Castaneda was a renowned psychiatrist, but he also found the time to create — writing crosswords and even operas.

Born in Guatemala, Castaneda trained at Albert Einstein Hospital in The Bronx and was the head of in-patient psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan before going into private practice.

“He fought for all his patients and rescued countless lives from addiction and mental illness,” his son, software engineer Olivier Castaneda, writes in a Facebook tribute.

Oliver says he’ll never forget the most important lessons his dad taught him: to “over-tip, appreciate a good bottle of wine and never to drive too close to the person in front of me.”

— With additional reporting by Hana Alberts, Johnny Oleksinski and Emily Smith

The New York Post will continue to pay tribute to the lives lost to the coronavirus. If you would like to commemorate someone, please contact Zachary Kussin at [email protected]


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