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‘Anthony Pastena, Sr. Way’ debuts on Graham

The Brooklyn Paper
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The intersection of Graham Avenue and Withers Street was co−named “Anthony Pastena, Sr. Way” last Sunday in honor of a Williamsburg civic leader who died in 2004.

Born in Williamsburg in 1914, Pastena lived his whole life in the neighborhood, save for a stint overseas as a soldier in World War II.

When he returned from the war, he opened up a toy store on Graham Avenue and Ainslie Street. Pastena and his store became beloved neighborhood fixtures.

“Everybody knew that store, everybody loved that store,” his son, Ralph Pastena, said last year.

Pastena eventually took a job as a supervisor in a Hammacher­Schlemmer store. He would find his way back to Williamsburg though, when he took a job as an aide to former Councilmember and current Administrative Judge Abe Gerges.

Ever active in community causes, Pastena served for 22 years as president of the Society of Our Lady of the Snow (410 Graham Avenue), the longest tenured president in the congregation’s history. Fittingly, his name will grace the nearby intersection.

“That was his heart right there,” Ralph said.

He was also a longtime member of Community Board 1, and commanded the American Legion Badame Sessa Post 1336. He served on the Board of Directors of the Conselyea Street Block Association, the School Settlement House, and the Italian American Multi−Service Center.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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