Patricia Buzzuro standing by the tree-pit plaque honoring her commitment to the Far W. 10th St. Block Association, of which she was the founder and longtime president.
BY ALBERT AMATEAU | Patricia Buzzuro, a Village resident for 80 years who organized the Far West 10th St. Block Association 40 years ago and served as the Republican Party State Committee member from the 64th Assembly District in the 1980s, died Sunday, Feb. 24, at age 86.
Pat Buzzuro’s dedication to her neighborhood is commemorated by a bronze plaque installed in January 1996 in a sidewalk tree pit in front of 195 W. 10th St. where she made her home for more than 50 years. The plaque recognizes her commitment to the block association, of which she served as president from 1973 to 1996. At the same time, she was honored with a New York State Assembly citation sponsored by the Village assemblymember, Deborah Glick, a Democrat. Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger declared Jan. 29, 1996, as Pat Buzzuro Day.
For the past two years, Pat had been living near relatives in the Poconos where she died after a brief illness, said her daughter, Gail Arnholdt.
Betsy Mickel, a block association member for nearly 20 years, related how Pat organized the association in the early 1970s when the city was in financial trouble and crime was on the increase.
“She wanted to join the W. 10th St. Block Association but they said ‘no’ because their western border was Sixth Ave., so Pat started her own association, adding the word ‘far’ to the title,” Mickel said.
Pat organized an annual street fair that continues to raise thousands of dollars for local charities and tree pit plantings. She promoted the “Lights On” campaign, convincing merchants to leave their lights on to illuminate sidewalks at night, and lobbied for rear-yard lighting as crime deterrents. She organized a neighborhood youth group and also helped get the mural painted on the front door of the Squad 18 Firehouse on W. 10th St. near Greenwich Ave.
“Around 1990 the block association had a table at the street fair selling sandwiches,” Mickel recalled. “The Health Department showed up and they were displeased about our not having a food handler’s license. Pat talked our way out of a $200 fine. But we dumped the sandwiches. ‘Feisty’ is the word I think of when I think of Pat,” Mickel added.
Pat was devoted to her family — her two daughters Gail and Susan, her grandson Brendan Cross and her granddaughter Kaitlyn Arnholdt.
When Kaitlyn, now 19, was in fourth grade at P.S. 3 in 2003, she wrote a four-page “Biography of My Grandmother, Patricia Buzzuro” earning an A+ and “Bravo!” from her teacher Lupe Del Toro. Much of what follows comes from the biography.
Patricia was born in the Bronx on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1926, to Frank Maio and Anna Dorraine Maio.
“When she was only 3 years old her mother died of pneumonia,” Kaitlyn wrote. When Patricia was 7, her father remarried and she came with her father, stepmother and three stepsisters to W. 11th St. She went to St. Veronica’s Elementary School on W. 10th St. (now the Greenwich Village Community School) a short walk from home.
“Although her school was strict, my grandmother learned a lot and respected her teachers,” Kaitlyn wrote, adding, “She did well in history, one of her most favorite subjects.”
Patricia went to Textile High School on W. 18th St.
“Her favorite things were dancing, playing basketball, going to movies and hanging out with her friends. She went to weekly dances at St. Bernard’s School [on W. 13th St.],” Kaitlyn wrote. Television was new in the mid-1940s and Patricia liked to watch “The Milton Berle Show,” and listened to “The Shadow” on radio, Kaitlyn noted.
After high school, Pat worked at the famous Sutter’s French Bakery, on W. 10th St. between Sixth and Greenwich Aves. Later she worked as a manager for various Barricini candy shops, and then for more than 20 years for Blue Cross-Blue Shield, from which she retired.
In 1955 she married Frank Buzzuro, a Villager, and moved to W. 10th St. where she remained until recently. Frank Buzzuro died in 1992.
A Republican stalwart in a very Democratic neighborhood, Pat earned honors from the G.O.P. and a recognition from the Republican National Committee for her support of President Reagan.
But her great legacy was her devotion to the Village.
“She loved the neighborhood and was deeply involved in its health and well-being,” said Betsy Mickel.
Pat’s two daughters, Gail Arnholdt and Susan Buzzuro, and two grandchildren, Kaitlyn Arnholdt and Brendan Cross, survive. Perrazzo Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.