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Malden today, tomorrow & yesterday – Galleria Umberto

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  “50 Words” – featured every week in the “Ideas” section of the Boston Sunday Globe. Here is my take on “50 Words.” This is yet another of my offerings to The Globe that, of course, was rejected. Thank goodness I have my own column! Insert smiley face.

  50 Words: 1962 Galleria Umberto: 1962. The walk from Carney Court in Charlestown to Parmenter Street in the North End was a short one. Mom’s taking the three of us to Galleria Umberto for square slices of pizza before square slices were called Sicilian. Before Ralph, Paul, and their mom opened up on Hanover Street.

  Picked up pieces while remembering all the things I love about Malden…

  • There is some serious TLC in the front yard of 82 Cedar St. – beautiful display of flora and fauna!
  • All hail newly paved Highland Avenue. If you remember from past episodes of MTTY, driving down Highland from Maple to the Fells felt like a war zone – for what seemed like years. No longer. It looks marvelous! Thank you for all the hard work that went into it.
  • The new front desk in the City Hall lobby? Forgetaboutit! Beautiful addition to already magnificent building. That desk has Ron Hogan written all over it! Way to go, Malden!
  • The Juneteenth celebration at Lincoln Commons was a glorious day in Malden history. Kudos to MaldenCore. Kudos to Malden. Kudos to all who took time out of their busy lives to be part of this historic day.
  • In the spirit of esoteric Malden history… the first graduating class at Boy’s Catholic High School (1936) included Steve, Walter and Diane Wishoski’s dad, Walter, and Cemetery Super Jimmy Cahill’s pop, Martin.
  • As reported by The Malden Sun-Times, a 1974 Malden “political slice of life”: “Some things that seemed better last year are now worse. The City Council which lost so much of its circus atmosphere when Councilors Thomas Cosgrove and Amelia Miclette [My note: Tom and Amelia were liberals] were members is back to its old tricks with Council papers being pulled out of the hat without warning. They raised their pay by 44 percent – from $4,500 to $6,500 per year – in a lightning action last month, so now we’ll have more than our share of clowns collecting $6,500.” My comment: ouch!
  • Oh, my goodness! When speaking of the Converse Family Reunion how on earth could I have forgotten the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation for their generosity and (as always) altruism. Without Henry Kezer and their assistance this event would not have been the success it was. Thank you for all you folks do for Malden.
  • It was 45 years ago this August that an Edgeworth institution met its demise. Pearl Baking Company at 284 Pearl St., which had been abandoned since a fire destroyed it in 1977, was a source of irritation and an eyesore to area residents ever since. Neighbors complained of the building being infested with vermin and being used as a “hangout for youths” who gathered there to drink. “The Bakery” was eventually demolished by Testa Company of Revere, but during its heyday when the ovens where blasting away (especially on a hot summer night) making some of the finest bread in town, the unmistakable and aromatic smell of bread baking swept over all of Edgeworth and beyond.
  • So long, JRM Hauling & Recycling. Some Maldonians simply adored Jimmy (Motzkin) and his hardworking team of employees. Others despised the organization. All agree that Jimmy, this ain’t your father’s JRM Hauling & Recycling. From somebody who, years ago, toiled six very long weeks in your front office, who appreciated the hard work your boys do and who admires your place in Malden history, I wish all the best. Especially to your employees who, I hope, land on their feet and are taken care of by Republic Services.
  • The City Hall Courtyard name dedication for Ed Lucey was a standing room only (love) affair. Family, friends, former political colleagues (and a few rivals) lined up patiently for their photo op with Ed and to shake the hand of the man who brought Malden into the 21st century. Former Mayor “Ace” Howard, former MHS Principal Dana Brown, former Ward Councillor (and Malden YMCA superstar hoopster of yesteryear) Billy Coleman, current City Council President Craig Spadafora and many of the current School Committee and City Council members listened intently as one of the last of the old-school pols, obviously humbled by the ceremony, spoke honestly and from the heart. Thank you, Ed, for your time in office. You were a man with vision, integrity and purpose, inspiring others to also do good. Malden was incredibly lucky to have you as a leader. And still is.
  • Congratulations to newly appointed Chief of Police Glenn Cronin. Glenn is a great guy and the perfect choice to replace outgoing great guy Kevin Molis. Chief Cronin checks off all the boxes that will make him a fabulous replacement! Malden will love Chief Cronin.
  • If Galleria Umberto’s Ralph Deuterio looks familiar, he should. He was a “Y Rat” inhabiting the weight room mostly during the glory days of the old Y, a gentleman of the old school and a sweetheart of a man.
  • Did you know that former Amerige Park “dawn to dusker” (1979 MHS grad) Gary Cherone is currently on tour with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry as Perry’s lead vocalist? Fact.

  He’s been called a “name dropper” and an “(expletive deleted) kisser” (see details below). He’s also been called a “turd smith” (ouch!) and a sanctimonious fake news purveyor (oh, the pain!). Those are just from his friends! I (semi) kid. He’s the author of this column and “Malden Musings” answering some of those “hard hitting” questions he’s posed to so many others. For your reading pleasure? Take it away, (the original) Pistol Pete:

  1. My full name is…Peter Frank Levine.
  2. I am currently…employed by the City of Malden in the Parking Department.
  3. I am saving up for…a 1956 Chevy Bel Air 2 Door Hardtop.
  4. My home is in…West Peabody. Yes, pilgrims, I reluctantly made the move a short while back. It was painful, and still is. More on this later.
  5. I love people who…are real, have a sense of humor and embrace reason and logic in all aspects of their life stance.
  6. Something I say a lot is…“fuhgeddaboudit” – the meaning explained concisely by Donnie Brasco aka Johnny Depp in the movie “Donnie Brasco.”
  7. I consider myself to be…a good listener.
  8. I need to have…my grandchildren, Galleria Umberto Sicilian slices, Ballantine Ale, my sister Barbara’s chicken cutlets, Chuck Taylor’s, my recliner, YouTube TV, Bikeeny Caffe coffee and the Malden Advocate on a quiet Friday morning in the place that Cemetery Director Jimmy Cahill built, the Forestdale Cem.
  9. My favorite movie(s) of all time are…“Gentleman’s Agreement” and “Angels with Dirty Faces.”
  10. My all-time role model is…my mother, Dorothy Drago Levine.
  11. I respect people who…have an open mind and use a humanistic approach in their daily lives.
  12. The best thing anyone has ever said to me is…26-year-old Cliff Cioffi to 21-year-old Peter Levine, “you played a great game tonight.”
  13. I am happiest when…I am with my grandchildren, when I am sitting with lifelong friends at the Italian American Citizens’ Club, when I am shooting a basketball and whenever I think of my late mother.
  14. I find Ward 7 Councillor Chris Simonelli funny/hilarious.
  15. I am named after…my uncle Peter “Paci” Levine.
  16. I have two stepdaughters.
  17. The farthest I’ve ever been from home is… (name dropping alert) the 1998 Van Halen Record Release Party, Los Angeles, California.
  18. My special talents are…making you feel like you are my best friend, a talent I inherited from my mother. Insert smiley face.
  19. I have zero pets.
  20. I played sports as a youngster at Devir, Little Pearl and Amerige Park.

  As Peter Falk’s iconic TV character “Columbo” would say, “Just one more thing sir” – something I wrote was worthy of social media attention. I’ve finally made it! I am somebody! Granted, I was called a “name dropping (expletive deleted) kisser” but as the saying goes, “Bad publicity is better than no publicity.” Gushing praise I had for Mayor Christenson was the target of these comments. Granted, I may have gone a bit overboard with my remarks, but I was in a good mood that day – just coming off a four-day weekend when my fingers started flying all over the keyboard. Listen, this column (and every column from Day 1) have always been a great big bear hug and kiss to Malden. Deep dive my articles and you’ll see that “(expletive deleted) kissing” goes way back. Nothing new. Unabashed homer from Day 1. Guilty. “For duty and humanity,” as The Three Stooges once proclaimed. All for the good of Malden!

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