Archive for the tag 'vince lombardi'


Photo by Lisanne Anderson

Strolling by the 1605 Sheepshead Bay Road storefront recently vacated by Anatolian Gyro (which has moved around the corner to 2623 East 16th Street) will give you a little glimpse into Sheepshead Bay’s commercial history: a portion of the sign from the long-lived Izzo’s Barber Shop is now on display after Anatolian’s sign was pulled down.

I can’t find a certain date for when Izzo’s opened and closed, but it was there for a broad chunk of the mid-20th century, leading up to at least the 1980s, where the storefront (with updated signage) can be seen in a Department of Finance tax photo:


I believe it was called Izzo’s Clippers, though it’s hard to say from the photo and it was long before my time.

I pinged reader and local history buff Lisanne Anderson to see if she could help pinpoint the timeframe. She wasn’t sure, but did confirm that it was owned by Peter Izzo, who lived from 1903 to 1984. The Izzos are one of Sheepshead Bay’s anchor families, having been involved in building much of the community throughout the 1900s, and Peter was uncle to the area’s most famous resident, Vince Lombardi.

There’s a plaque dedicated to Izzo, who was apparently known as Mr. Sheepshead Bay, at Bill Brown Square (too frequently incorrectly called Vince Lombardi Square, at East 17th Street and Jerome Avenue).


Photo by Lisanne Anderson.

Lisanne added that in the shop’s later years, Izzo had hired younger help and only came into the shop to attend to long-time patrons.

Can anyone else fill us in on the history of Izzo’s barber shop? Let us know in the comments!

Update (12:19 p.m.): A little post-publishing research turned up this amusing article from the September 3, 1934, Brooklyn Eagle, in which the 64-member Izzo clan stayed at Peter’s house for a family reunion field day:


Furthermore, Wikipedia notes that Vince Lombardi’s grandfather, and Peter Izzo’s father, Anthony, opened a barber shop in Sheepshead Bay before the turn of the century. While no address is given, a September 15, 1915, edition of the Daily Eagle notes that Tony’s barbershop was caught up in some illegal betting operations. It gave the address as Shore Road and Jerome Place, the former names for Sheepshead Bay Road and Jerome Avenue, pretty much exactly where the storefront is:



Bill Brown Square just got a whole lot browner.

One of only two green spaces near Sheepshead Bay Road has had all of the green plucked from it. Bill Brown Square, named after the World War I hero who made the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields of France,  boasted a tree and several sizable shrubs until recently.

But now the square, which is located at Jerome Avenue and East 17th Street and is also home to a plaque honoring football legend and Bay native Vince Lombardi among other notables, is almost entirely barren. Parks Department officials removed all but two dying shrubs from the square in the past week or so.

According to a Parks Department employee, the greenstreet was flooded during Superstorm Sandy, killing the spruce tree and several shrubs at the site. The agency told Sheepshead Bites that they plan to replant the area in the spring, using salt tolerant shrubs.

We’re looking forward to it. Perhaps we can even get a nice new spruce to decorate when the holidays come around.

A statue of Brooklyn's own Joe "JoePa" Paterno in front of Beaver Stadium, home to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Source: Wikipedia

College football fans all over the country mourned the passing of the Brooklyn-born Penn State titan, Joe “JoePa” Paterno, who succumbed to complications lung cancer this past week at 85.

Approximately 12,000 mourners attended a final tribute yesterday to the Penn State Nittany Lions’ beloved long-time leader, who was born in Flatbush, grew up in Marine Park, attended Good Shepherd Roman Catholic School and church (1950 Batchelder Street), and was credited with being the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.

Continue Reading »

File:Vince Lombardi.pngUnless you’ve stooped to examine the understated brass plaque embedded in the sidewalk at the corner of East 17th Street and Jerome Avenue, you might never see a public acknowledgement of neighborhood pride for one of Sheepshead Bay’s most famed native sons. “IN MEMORY OF VINCE LOMBARDI: 1913-1970,” the plaque reads. “Dedicated by the Sheepshead Bay Chamber of Commerce, 1974.”

Denis Hamill of the Daily News thinks that this small memorial and the two sites in Bensonhurst named for Lombardi – a public school and a short stretch of 16th Avenue – are far short of a fitting tribute to “arguably the greatest NFL coach in history.”

Lombardi, who was born in Brooklyn in 1913 and raised at 2542 East 14th Street, served as assistant coach of New York Giants for four years, before going on to win five NFL championships – including the first two Superbowls – as head coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967.

“There should be a big, brawny, larger-than-life Vince Lombardi statue resting on a block of granite here in Sheepshead Bay,” Hamill wrote in The Daily News this past Saturday.

Citing Lombardi’s rise over anti-Italian discrimination and zero-tolerance for bigotry from his players – even before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Hamill writes that he “embodied the Brooklyn ethic of triumph over adversity through tireless hard work.”

Hamill spoke to several community leaders about their memories of the famed coach, including Richard Stockley, the building manager at St. Mark’s Church where Lombadi served as an altar boy. “I remember Vince as a tough, gruff guy who loved to laugh, and a devout daily communicant. When he spoke, it was like the word of God in this neighborhood,” Stockley recalled.

George Pompilio, co-owner of Gothic Press, a print shop around the corner from Lombardi’s childhood home, had similarly warm memories. “That Lombardi came from the neighborhood made him our hero,” he said. “That he was Italian was a cherry on the cake.”

There is no word yet as to whether community groups are backing Hamill’s proposal, nor where the statue would be erected.

What do you think? Does Sheepshead Bay need a “big, brawny” Vince Lombardi statue?

-Katie McNish

Folks, in the words of Sheepshead Bay’s native son and Hall of Fame football coach, Vince Lombardi, “If you don’t think you’re a winner, you don’t belong here.”

Well, we think you’re a winner, and we’re out to prove it. We’re offering Sheepshead Bites readers the chance to go see Lombardi free of charge. That’s right, we’ve got two free tickets to go see the critically-acclaimed Broadway play Lombardi at Circle in the Square on almost any day from now through mid-June.

All we’re asking of you is to sign up to our newsletter (details below). Pretty simple, huh? But you need to hurry. You need to complete sign up by Sunday, May 7, 2011 at 11:59 p.m., and we’ll be picking the lucky winner randomly from the pool of e-mail subscribers.

We’re all winners here, but when it comes to this contest, Lombardi winners will be announced on Monday, May 8.

Cool! What do I have to do?

Next to nothing! All we want is for you to sign up to our daily newsletter by putting your e-mail address in the form below, and press “Subscribe.”

You see, we’re relaunching our newsletter, which gets e-mailed every day at 7:00 p.m. Our new e-mail packs brief snippets of each day’s posts, with more color and style than our last design. And as we unroll new features in the coming months, they’ll be hooked into the newsletter so that you can keep up-to-date on all of the site’s content from your inbox. You’ll never miss another article.

join our mailing list

What’s Lombardi?

Sport produces great human drama and there is no greater sports icon to bring to theatrical life than coach Vince Lombardi, one of the most inspirational and quotable personalities of all time. Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years) and two-time Emmy Award winner Judith Light head the cast of Lombardi, a new American play by Academy Award winner and Steppenwolf Theatre Company member Eric Simonson. Though football’s Super Bowl trophy is named for him, few know the real story of Lombardi the man—his inspirations, his passions and ability to drive people to achieve what they never thought possible. Directed by Tony nominee Thomas Kail (In the Heights), Lombardi is based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss. Lombardi is playing at Circle in the Square, whose lobby has been transformed into a museum-quality installation featuring Vince Lombardi and Green Bay Packer memorabilia.

What’s the catch?

Nothing! We were looking to let people know about our great newsletter. The Lombardi producers were looking to get Sheepshead Bay residents to check out this critically-acclaimed show based on one of our neighbors. So teaming up for those two goals was our only intention.

We will not sell or distribute your e-mail address under any circumstances. We will not spam you. That’s our promise.

There are some blackout dates that apply to the Lombardi tickets. Tickets are transferable, but resale is strictly prohibited by law.

Sign up now! Good luck!

Statue of Lombardi // Source: jimbowen0306 via Flickr

Who is Sheepshead Bay’s most famous resident? No, it’s not Larry David or Andrew Dice Clay. It’s not Michelle Trachtenberg or Winsor McCay. Charles Schumer? Well, he traded in his roots to move to Park Slope…

It’s Vince Lombardi, the football legend who turned the Green Bay Packers into one of the NFL’s flagship franchises, and for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named. Don’t believe me? Lombardi’s even got a square named after him (at East 14th Street, where Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue Z meet), and a plaque in the sidewalk near Jerome Avenue and East 17th Street. What’s Larry David got?

Now Lombardi is being honored by not one, not even two, but three major productions about him, his work and his life.

The most notable is an ESPN Films production based on Lombardi’s early years in Green Bay that will premiere in January 2012. Robert DeNiro is taking the star role.

A Broadway play is also hitting the stage very soon. Titled simply Lombardi, the show is based on David Maraniss’ celebrated biography, When Pride Still Mattered. It previews later this month and is slated for a full opening on October 21 at Circle in the Square.

Finally, HBO is putting the final touches on a documentary also called Lombardi, which debuts in December. It’s going to focus not just on his football coaching, but also how the man was conflicted about the era in which he lived. Lombardi was torn during the 1960s between being a staunch supporter of civil rights, but one that was dismayed by the violence of the times.

“Kids know the name on the (Super Bowl) trophy and they know that he said ‘Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,’ but they don’t know the man,” said HBO president Ross Greenburg. “It’s time to fill in the blanks.”

I ask again: what’s Larry David got?

[via Cinema News]