BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Community Board 2 on Sept. 21 unanimously approved a street co-naming sign at the southwest corner of Mulberry and Grand Streets for “Vinny Peanuts”
The board’s resolution supports co-naming the spot “Vincent ‘Vinny Peanuts’ Cirelli Sabatino Corner.” It’s a lot to fit on one street sign — but “Vinny Peanuts” meant a lot to the community.
Sabatino, the board noted, was “a beloved Little Italy activist and constant presence.” He lived and worked in the neighborhood his whole life, selling peanuts and torrone — a nut and nougat confection — at the corner, hence his nickname “Vinnie Peanuts.” He died in 2020 of COVID.
His corner was a place, the board’s resolution said, “where neighborhood people gathered, socialized and shared information, along with many visitors who joined in the camaraderie, all drawn by the friendly community ambiance that ‘Vinnie Peanuts’ instilled.”
Sabatino also worked to improve the neighborhood and preserve its cultural traditions.
“Among the many initiatives he championed and worked for,” the board said, “was the establishment of the first new affordable housing in Little Italy in 75 years at 21 Spring St.; building support to assure the continuation of the San Gennaro Feast; improving and sustaining the Little Italy Mall; and creation of the Little Italy Special (zoning) District.
“Vinnie Peanuts” also fundraised for the Sons of Little Italy and Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge, autism, Alzheimer’s, the Gift of Sight and Cooley’s anemia, plus helped the Henry Street Settlement. Little Italy residents advocating for the co-naming in a petition. The City Council will next need to approve the co-naming for it to go into effect.