Were the author’s early years in Albany, NY idyllic? No, but they came close, Viglucci suggests, until his 16th year when his 48-year-old father died in his arms as an older brother, Mike, comforted his mother and another, Andy, held down the family shop, The State News.
This, however, is not a book about family tragedy; in fact, humor peppers the pages as the retired newspaper editor and publisher recounts the exploits of his ten-year-old buddies and himself, denizens of Van Woert St. in North Albany during the Forties. There are the ubiquitous sandlot baseball games, rowboat trips down the Hudson River, visits to the Paramount and Palace to see westerns and gangster movies, even to the city dump to try to outwit the rats.
There is also mention of the Irish and Italian connection with the challenging union of his mother, Helen (Nell)Fitzgerald with his father, Carmen A. (Jinx) Viglucci. “If you marry him, you’ll end up with a lot of little dagoes running around,” warned Nell’s Irish Aunt Anne McCann. “And she was right,” the author points out, “Lots of little flaxen-haired, blue-eyed dagoes.”
From the Great Depression to the A-Bomb, the boys and girls from VanWoert Street took on all problems from Clark Gable’s need for a penny to wondering how babies came to be. They wandered all the way from Broadway to Lark Street, encompassing The Diamond, which also brought into play, the famed Tiger AC and manager Jigger Hayes.
Viglucci and buddies, newspaper carriers, were wont to spread the pages of the Knick News to keep up with history such as the day the world met the deadly atomic bomb. Another time, Big Tooth Calabro brought reports of a tragedy closer to home—about the man who died by shooting himself at home plate in the head–six times!
As Viglucci grew into his teens he took his turn working at the State News encountering bookies, nefarious sidekicks of political boss Dan O’Connell and NYC tourists who bought up souvenirs which the Albany ”hicks” imported from downstate and labeled with Capital stickers. For those who remember the 1940s and those who have wondered about that tumultuous yet relatively innocent era, “Albany Street Kid,” will charm and enlighten.
5-Star Amazon Reviews
“… Mr. Viglucci describes his era with pathos, wit and humor. A nice read about a much simpler time.”
“… The story is funny, thought-provoking and provides a temporary escape from all of today’s worries back to a time that was so different. An enjoyable read!”