Volume 74, Number 29 | November 24 - 30, 2004


Obituary

Joseph Scialo, owner of The Monster, gay benefactor

Joseph Scialo, owner of the Village club The Monster and a benefactor of gay and lesbian service organizations, died Nov. 20 at his home in the Village. He was 69 and suffered from emphysema, according to Charlie Rice, his domestic partner of 18 years.

“He had the incredible ability to bring people together,” said Rice, who has been a partner in the Village club for the past two years and intends to continue running the club at 80 Grove St.

Born on Bayard St. to Joseph and Margarita Mecca Scialo, Joseph Scialo went to neighborhood public schools and joined the Navy in 1955 where he served for a year. He then opened a tailor shop in Astoria and later with a friend, opened a hair salon in Floral Park, Queens, that became very successful.

“Everyone loved him and he was a genius at hairstyling — an incredible hair colorist,” said his sister, Caroline, who worked as a receptionist for the salon. In the early 1970s he sold the salon and opened The Monster in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, followed by The Monster in Key West. He opened the Village club in 1982.

“He was a great cook at home and he’d throw banquets for his friends,” said Rice, a friend since 1974. “He came from a long line of cooks — his father was a baker and two aunts ran a speakeasy and restaurant on Bayard St.,” Rice said. Scialo’s father died in 1980 and his mother died in 1989.

Scialo was a financial benefactor of the Gay Men’s Chorus and gave them an open bar at The Monster after rehearsals. He provided SAGE, the gay and lesbian seniors group, with the bus they used in the Gay Pride march each year and arranged and paid for Heritage of Pride’s liquor license for the annual dance on Pier 54 at W. 13th St. He was also a generous contributor to other charities.

In addition to Caroline, another sister, Vincenza, also survives. A memorial celebration of his life will be held at The Monster on Dec. 5.

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