Gravesend’s Peter Bencivenga turns 100

Brooklynite celebrates his 100th birthday

The Brooklyn Paper
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It was the party of a century!

Family, friends, and elected officials celebrated the 100th birthday of lifelong Brooklynite Peter Bencivenga at La Plaina in Gravesend on Dec. 27.

The World War II veteran, retired landscaper, and avid gardener celebrated his own personal turn of the century with more than 60 guests, including Borough President Adams. Relatives say his mind is still as young as his spirit.

“He is really an amazing man,” his daughter-in-law Elise Bencivenga said. “He reads the paper every single day from front to back. He knows everything that is going on in the world. His memory is amazing, just amazing. Every time I have a question, I ask him.”

Peter Bencivenga was born in Gravesend in 1914, and now lives with his son and daughter-in-law only three blocks away from where his childhood home once stood.

Bencivenga worked in landscaping for more than 20 years, and he only left the borough once, for a very good reason: to fight Nazis.

But even while he was in Europe serving in a mobile Army surgical hospital during World War II, family was supremely important to Bencivenga. When his unit was stationed in Italy, he snuck off with a friend to visit his relatives in Milan for more than a week. Bencivenga’s captain was looking for him all week, but his daughter-in-law said the local legend knew how to dodge the drama.

“His officer said, ‘Pete, where have you been? I’ve calling you on the loudspeaker,’ ” Elise Bencivenga said. “He just said, ‘I didn’t hear you.’ ”

She said the whole family is impressed by her father-in-law’s continued ingenuity, whether it is his quick thinking, as when he moved a washing machine by placing it on top of a skateboard, or his long-term vision, like how he grew a plum tree in the family’s backyard from a tiny pit.

“He is incredible,” she said.

Bencivenga said the party was the perfect way to celebrate the century, and that he is looking forward to the future festivities with his family. In addition to his son Steven, Bencivenga has a daughter Rosemary, four grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

“My daughter-in-law and my son and my daughter, every day, they take care of my life,” he said. “I could live a thousand years.”

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Elyse Bencivenga from Gravesend says:
Thank You Vanessa for the beautiful article you wrote. However, although we live in the same house with my father-in-law, also, he actually lives with my sister-in-law (his daughter) Rosemary, who takes such wonderful care of him, that he might live to 200!!!
Thank you for the beautiful article. Elyse
Dec. 31, 2014, 11:42 am
John Rafano from Gravesend says:
On top of all that Pete always made time to take us wherever we wanted to go. Whether it was to "More Fun" or the 18th avenue feast. On the car rides over he use to preach to us "SAVE YA MONEY" !!! He was like another grand father . I wish you a hundred more happy years, because you deserve nothing less.
With love , Johnny
Dec. 31, 2014, 1:31 pm
Anthony from Gravesend (still holding it down) says:
God Bless Petey! Thanks for the wisdom.
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:07 pm
Elizabeth Mone from Asheville ,NC/Formally from Gravesend says:
Wow Happy 100TH Birthday Pete, you are still one very attractive young man . A family is only as great as their Leader and you my friend, are one great Leader. You have a wonderful and beautiful family who all love and adore you . What an interesting and wonderful article they wrote about you . I feel so Blessed to have met you .
God keep Blessing you .
Hugs and Kisses Love from Elizabeth and son Tommy
Jan. 5, 2015, 8:59 pm
Allison Alois-Hughes from Long Island says:
Happy 100th Birthday Uncle Pete...You look fantastic!!! Glad to see you are doing well ..Wishing you many more wonderful years full of family, good health,and lots of laughter!! Take care
Jan. 8, 2015, 3:59 am
JOHN DI CAPUA from formerly of BROOKLYN ! says:


March 16, 2015, 2:44 pm

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