By ASHLEY HELMS
As motorists pass by the intersection of Fenimore Road and Fayette Avenue in the Village of Mamaroneck, they will soon notice the thoroughfares have gained a new name.
Vincent Paniccia, a well-known and fondly remembered owner of Vincent’s Service Station Inc., located at 636 Fenimore Road, will be memorialized by village government and the local community with a street sign proclaiming “Vincent’s Place.” The sign will be displayed on the corner of Fenimore Road and Fayette Avenue; a stone’s throw from the shop that just celebrated its 50th birthday.
The proposal was approved by the Board of Trustees at a Dec. 16 meeting.
A native of Italy, Paniccia immigrated to the United States in 1959 after working in Venezuela for a few years. Shortly thereafter, his wife, Filomena, and daughter, Maria, joined him in the United States and he opened the original Vincent’s Garage at a gas station across from Rye Playland in 1963. The garage moved to Mamaroneck in 1970; first to a location on Mamaroneck Avenue, then to Fenimore Road, where it has remained since 1981. The business now boasts 45 employees, according to Matthew Lungariello, Paniccia’s grandson and service manager of Vincent’s. Paniccia retired from the business in 2004 and died in 2007 at the age of 72 after battling lung cancer. He was a resident of Purchase.
The original gas station nearby Rye Playland still stands, but Lungariello said the building became
too small for the growing business.
“It’s a tiny office with one or two pumps outside; [my grandfather’s business] just kind of grew out of it,” he said.
Today, The business is separated into two entities on the same property, an auto body shop and a repair garage that handles towing and vehicle maintenance. Vincent’s Service Station still holds the title of largest tow truck fleet in Westchester County, with about 17 service trucks, Lungariello said.
Lungariello said that, although the family is unsure when the sign will be unveiled, they would like to hold a ceremony when the time comes. The idea of honoring Paniccia with a street sign came up in the past, but Lungariello said the proposal was denied by village government and the family was never given a definite answer as to why the proposal was rejected.
This year, however, the village Board of Trustees approved the proposal unanimously.
“[The Board of Trustees] wrote some nice, kind words for what he did for Mamaroneck,” Lungariello said. “He was influential in the DARE program. We helped put the vehicle together and did some paint work.”
In addition to his business, Paniccia was a frequent community fundraiser and active volunteer. He was a member of local Italian-American clubs including the Columbus Day Society of Harrison. He was also a Mamaroneck auxiliary police officer in the 1960s and 1970s, Lungariello said.
“He had his nose in everything; he was really involved. He always had a thing for the police department,” Lungariello said. “Back then, they weren’t huge departments, so they relied on people a lot more and he was the captain.”
Mayor Norman Rosenblum, a Republican, read a letter from the Mamaroneck Police Department during the Dec. 16 Board of Trustees meeting. The letter said the fire department is happy to see a street named for Paniccia and his family and noted the important business and volunteer work Paniccia did in the village.
The mayor said he’s seen many families come and go in the village, but some stick and become pillars of the community.
“As a third-generation [resident], I’ve seen many groups, individuals and businesses in the Village of Mamaroneck,” Rosenblum said. “But there’s a few that everyone knows about and all you have to do is mention a name and they know where it is.”