A Protestor Holds A Sign At The Rally In Annadale

Save Staten Island Small Business Rally In Annadale Draws Huge Crowd; Big Media Conspicuously Absent

Today there was another rally organized by Staten Islanders advocating on behalf of small businesses that have been shuttered by the COVID-19 New York State PAUSE, enacted by Governor Cuomo.

While the rally drew a large crowd to Jefferson Plaza in Annadale, reporters and photographers from the big media outlets were visibly absent. No trucks with satellite dishes. No reporters standing with professional camera crews. Nothing.

Annadale Jefferson Plaza Right Before Save Staten ISland Small Business Rally. Image Credit- Staten Islander News Org

Annadale Jefferson Plaza Right Before Save Staten ISland Small Business Rally. Image Credit- Staten Islander News Org

That’s how they responded to the Staten Island small business crisis: Attend the first rally and write a token piece that tells very little, and promise to come to the second, and flake at the last minute. How should you respond? Perhaps cancelling your subscriptions or stop tuning in would be most appropriate; do what you feel is right, of course.

Although the event was slated to begin at 5:30 PM, the announcer, Joe Caldarera, Sr., informed the crowd that things would kick off with a slight delay, as media representatives apparently had said they would be there.

And so, this rally was flying under the radar, hidden from view, as it were. A True American Revolution won’t necessarily be televised.

Matt Zocco, of HiNRG Sound Productions, provided the sound equipment and DJed, playing some tunes before and after the event was underway.  As the Queen track “Another One Bites the Dust” played, it was difficult not to think of both the victims of COVID-19 who have passed, as well as the small businesses that would not be coming back.

The event emcee was Anthony Fazzia, whose family owns a yellow school bus company called Jofaz Transportation in Red Hook, Brooklyn,  a local small business that’s been around for over forty years.

The Crowd Still Gathering As Islanders Arrive. Image Credit- StatenIslander.Org

The Crowd Still Gathering As Islanders Arrive. Image Credit- StatenIslander.Org

Phil DeMeo and Joe Emmanuele planned and  arranged use of the venue for the event. The sky was crystal blue and there was a pleasant Spring breeze blowing. But all was not well under this idyllic American sky.

The Jefferson Plaza parking area, a neatly paved lot for the various stores in the brown brick and tan stucco strip mall, including Miss Caroline’s Dance Elite, Shades of Color Hair Salon, Romeo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Il Songo Italian Restaurant, Ocean Sushi, and Mangia! Healthy Kitchen, was where about 200 people had gathered. All remain closed.

Attendee of Rally Holding Handmade Sign In Front of NYPD Vehicle

Attendee of Rally Holding Handmade Sign In Front of NYPD Vehicle

Across the street, a truck had parked with a gigantic Re-elect TRUMP 2020 banner on a fifteen foot pole. American flags were everywhere; on the backs of people’s jackets, on poles, on bandannas. Some drove, others walked, still others came on bikes.

The people who had gathered to support the re-opening were men and women of all ages, some with children. Many Islanders held handmade signs expressing their feelings and thoughts about the extended COVID-19 shutdown and its effects on small business.

Learn To Ride Motorcycle School Present At Annadale Rally. SINewsOrg

Learn To Ride Motorcycle School Present At Annadale Rally. SINewsOrg

The event had been announced on social media and by word of mouth in the various neighborhoods of the island.

NYPD Community Affairs and other officers were there, as is the case at any pre-planned public gathering, but largely stood to the side the entire time. No one was bothered by their presence, and no one bothered them by forcing them to break up noncompliance with social distancing orders.

Joe Calderera Speaks With A Rally Participant before The Event. SINewsOrg

Joe Caldarera Speaks With A Rally Participant before The Event. SINewsOrg

The speakers were, in order, Joe Caldarera, running for U.S. Congress on the Republican ticket, Steve Margarella, owner of Port Richmond small business Margarella Asphalt and Concrete, Christine Salica, Staten Island family and community advocate, and Lenny Giordano, owner of the local restaurant, Mona Lisa Pizzeria. Marco Kepi was also present in the crowd, but did not speak at the podium.

Each speaker had their own angle on the debacle of statewide closures, adding their own perspectives gleaned from their unique circumstances and life situation.

Vision Zero Banner On Jefferson Boulevard.

Vision Zero Banner On Jefferson Boulevard.

The crowd was lively but respectful, shouting out playfully in response to the various speeches. While this was as serious matter, everyone remained friendly toward one another and positive. There was a serious, yet relaxed mood.

While politics were mentioned at times, the issues touched upon radiated farther than what goes on in the halls of our state and national legislature. The event was conceived as a platform for Joe Caldarera, and so of course politics did get some mention. And, of course, owing to the fact that it’s our city and state officials demanding a protracted shutdown of small business.

Approaching The Rally.

Approaching The Rally.

Joe Caldarera spoke slowly and carefully, trying to get the message out that, “Staten Island is ready to open up. I was warned not to come here tonight…by some political consultants and other people in politics on Staten Island, they said, ‘Don’t come here. It’s too dangerous, write an op-ed, we’ll post a virtual town hall, that’ll get the point across’ Businesses are shuttered…Small business on Staten Island is dying. I HAVE to be here!”

Steve Margarella had this to say, “A man would do this [come out to the rally]…wouldn’t pawn it off to a surrogate…I’ve seen what’s gone on in New York City and New York State, and I’m looking at the shutdowns…New York in particular…and…things do not add up…what we’re living through is the worst gross management of any epidemic in the history of the United States. and it’s in the hands of…Cuomo…the companies that survive are going to be taxed out of existence…”

Re-elect TRUMP 2020 Banner On An Attendee's Truck

Re-elect TRUMP 2020 Banner On An Attendee’s Truck

“…There’s one thing we all have in common is we’re all acutely aware of how badly we are being treated. You know,we’re not the criminals…and for you to go out to work and try to feed your family, you will become a criminal. They put people out of jail, but they’ll fine you or lock you up.”

The crowd responded with, “Lock up the criminals, not the Americans!” “Not in my country!” “Hypocrisy!” “Enough with the mind games!” “Whatever the f*** is going on?!”

The Crowd Grows.

The Crowd Grows.

Christine Salica next took to the stage with high energy:

“We’re all here for the same reason…freedom! I’m out of work and I’m going to be out of work for a while, thanks to our governor! I’m one of the pioneers on Staten Island going back and forth [advocating for changes in state laws]…we saw them chipping away at our freedom…I would have anxiety…these people who seem very uneducated are making laws for us…”

NYPD Community Affairs Officers And Emergency Vehicles

NYPD Community Affairs Officers And Emergency Vehicles

“Do you feel that our Bill of Rights is essential? Do you feel we should go back to work? Guess what guys, the Governor and the mayor are receiving their paycheck. We’re not. Time for a revolution…I won’t allow the government to chip away at the Constitution, chip away at our Rights…the media is feeding you and me propaganda..the people are afraid to leave their homes…the sheep….we pioneered this…we saw it coming…”

The Jefferson Plaza Rally Before It Started

The Jefferson Plaza Rally Before It Started

Finally, Lenny Giordano, owner of Mona Lisa pizzeria, took to the podium:

“Sometimes I don’t want to say nothing, because I’m so upset because I see what’s going on…they took our faith and our freedom..it’s OK to go to the park, but it’s not OK to the church…open your eyes when you go home. Literally open your eyes….we have to stick together.”

Steve Margarella closed the event with advocating the idea of business owners flouting the law en masse as a demonstration of civil disobedience and protesting against a government edict that violates our guaranteed rights:

“Open up your doors! The only way we’re going to force change is to put their backs to the wall! Do not back down! Open your doors and stand up! Take your cameras out and take pictures when they [law enforcement officers]  come!”

Christine Salica With Home-made Sign Decrying Contact Tracing Law, H.R. 6666

Christine Salica With Home-made Sign Decrying Contact Tracing Law, H.R. 6666

There are, in fact many Islanders of Italian and Sicilian ancestry. People from other areas of the metro area sometimes even call the island Staten Italy, poking fun while noting our high prevalence of Italian-Americans.

Italian people whose parents and grandparents immigrated from Italy in the twentieth century have been raised to despise Mussolini, and fascism, and so it’s no wonder that Italian-Americans play heavily in the opposition to the restrictive laws. Raised since childhood to value the Flag and American Freedom, and to resist tyranny, it’s no wonder the fly in the ointment of, ironically, Italian-American political leaders, is this demographic group.

Christine Salica, One Of The Small Business Rally Speakers

Christine Salica, One Of The Small Business Rally Speakers

NYPD Community Affairs Officer Speaks With Rally Particpant

NYPD Community Affairs Officer Speaks With Rally Particpant

Rally Participant Holding A Flag, Wearing a 'Capitalist' Sweatshirt

Rally Participant Holding A Flag, Wearing a ‘Capitalist’ Sweatshirt

More Annadale, Staten Island, Small Business Rally Particpants

More Annadale, Staten Island, Small Business Rally Particpants

Home-made Signs Were Everywhere!

Home-made Signs Were Everywhere!

Sign Reads, 'Cuomo Wants A Welfare-Dependant State To Over-Tax and Control.'

Sign Reads, ‘Cuomo Wants A Welfare-Dependant State To Over-Tax and Control.’

Contact Tracing! Where Have Our Rights Gone!

Contact Tracing! Where Have Our Rights Gone!

Event Particpant Holds An American Flag Photo and A Sign which Reads, 'Lock Up Criminals, Not Americans.'

Event Particpant Holds An American Flag Photo and A Sign which Reads, ‘Lock Up Criminals, Not Americans.’

Mary Ellen Probanski Was Present

Mary Ellen Probanski Was Present

Mary Ellen Holds Her Homemade Sign

Mary Ellen Holds Her Homemade Sign

#FreedomFriday #ReOpenNY

#FreedomFriday #ReOpenNY

Attendee of Annadale Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Wearing a Pride Equipment Shirt

Attendee of Annadale Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Wearing a Pride Equipment Shirt

Hogs. (Motorcycles) With American Flags and Thin Blue Line American Flags

Hogs. (Motorcycles) With American Flags and Thin Blue Line American Flags

Learn To Ride Motocyclists and Their Bikes At The Staten Island Save Small Business COVID-19 PAUSE Rally

Learn To Ride Motocyclists and Their Bikes At The Staten Island Save Small Business COVID-19 PAUSE Rally

Another Sign Expressing Issues With Governor Cuomo's Shutdown

Another Sign Expressing Issues With Governor Cuomo’s Shutdown

Waiting For The Big Media To Show Up. Crickets!

Waiting For The Big Media To Show Up. Crickets!

Just A Nice Pic Of Motorcycles In The Sunlight At The Annadale NYS PAUSE Small Business Rally

Just A Nice Pic Of Motorcycles In The Sunlight At The Annadale NYS PAUSE Small Business Rally

'Small Businesses Are Essential!' Reads The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Sign

‘Small Businesses Are Essential!’ Reads The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Sign

Still Waiting For The Media To Arrive...

Still Waiting For The Media To Arrive…

'Gov. Cuomo Stop The Shutdown! Are You Waiting For Us To Go Bankrupt' Sign At Annadale, Staten Island Small Business Rally

‘Gov. Cuomo Stop The Shutdown! Are You Waiting For Us To Go Bankrupt’ Sign At Annadale, Staten Island Small Business Rally

Greeting Old Friends At The Staten Island Save Small Business Rally on May 22, 2020

Greeting Old Friends At The Staten Island Save Small Business Rally on May 22, 2020

LTR Motorsports Staten Island MC Jacket

LTR Motorsports Staten Island MC Jacket

Jefferson Plaza, Site Of The May 22, 2020 Save Small Business Rally

Jefferson Plaza, Site Of The May 22, 2020 Save Small Business Rally

Joe Caldarera, Running For Congress, Speaks To The Crowd At The Rally To Save Staten Island Small Business

Joe Caldarera, Running For Congress, Speaks To The Crowd At The Rally To Save Staten Island Small Business

Joe Caldarera Addresses Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

Joe Caldarera Addresses Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

Steve Margarella Speaks To Protestors Demanding That New York City Reopen Small Businesses

Steve Margarella Speaks To Protestors Demanding That New York City Reopen Small Businesses

Steve Margarella Asks Why Should Home Depot And Target Be Allowed But Small Barber Shops And Salons Cannot

Steve Margarella Asks Why Should Home Depot And Target Be Allowed But Small Barber Shops And Salons Cannot

Steve Margarella Addresses Participants At The Rally To Reopen Small Businesses In New York

Steve Margarella Addresses Participants At The Rally To Reopen Small Businesses In New York

Steve Margarella Talks About The Plight Of Small Businesses On Staten Island, And Asks The Mayor And Governor Why They Remain Shuttered

Steve Margarella Talks About The Plight Of Small Businesses On Staten Island, And Asks The Mayor And Governor Why They Remain Shuttered

Christine Salica Talks About Freedom And The Bill Of Rights During Her Speech At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

Christine Salica Talks About Freedom And The Bill Of Rights During Her Speech At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

Christine Salica, Staten Island Activist, Speaks To The Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

Christine Salica, Staten Island Activist, Speaks To The Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

Lenny Giordana Of Mona Lisa Pizzeria Speaks At The Save Small Business Rally On Staten Island

Lenny Giordana Of Mona Lisa Pizzeria Speaks At The Save Small Business Rally On Staten Island

Lenny Giordano, A Small Business Owner Who Has Had To Completely Restructure His Pizza Business, Addresses The Crowd About The Plight Of Their Neighbors And Why Staten Island Needs To Be Reopened

Lenny Giordano, A Small Business Owner Who Has Had To Completely Restructure His Pizza Business, Addresses The Crowd About The Plight Of Their Neighbors And Why Staten Island Needs To Be Reopened

A Protestor Holds A Sign Enough Is Enough Open Small Business At The Staten Island Rally

A Protestor Holds A Sign Enough Is Enough Open Small Business At The Staten Island Rally

We The People Are The Constitution Reads A Protestors Sign At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

We The People Are The Constitution Reads A Protestors Sign At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

At The Protest In Annadale To Reopen Staten Island's Small Businesses, A Protestor Holds A Sign Declaring That The People Are The Constitution

At The Protest In Annadale To Reopen Staten Island’s Small Businesses, A Protestor Holds A Sign Declaring That The People Are The Constitution

A Protestor Holds A Sign At The Rally In Annadale

A Protestor Holds A Sign At The Rally In Annadale

The Crowd Is Gathered For The Rally To Reopen Small Businesses On Staten Island In Annadale

The Crowd Is Gathered For The Rally To Reopen Small Businesses On Staten Island In Annadale

The Crowd Of Protestors Awaits The First Speaker At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

The Crowd Of Protestors Awaits The First Speaker At The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally

Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

Protestors At The Rally In Annadale

A Real Estate Agent Holds A Sign Asking Why She Can't Return To Work Due To The Shutdown In New York Since March

A Real Estate Agent Holds A Sign Asking Why She Can’t Return To Work Due To The Shutdown In New York Since March

Mary Ellen Probanski's Signs At The Rally To Reopen New York

Mary Ellen Probanski’s Signs At The Rally To Reopen New York

Mary Ellen Holds A Freedom Friday Sign As She Walks Across The Lot At The Rally To Save Staten Island Small Businesses

Mary Ellen Holds A Freedom Friday Sign As She Walks Across The Lot At The Rally To Save Staten Island Small Businesses

Supporters Gathered For The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally At Jefferson Plaza, Where The Effects Of The Shutdown Are Painfully Apparent

Supporters Gathered For The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally At Jefferson Plaza, Where The Effects Of The Shutdown Are Painfully Apparent

The Hi NRG DJ Gives A Thumbs Up At The Rally In Staten Island

The Hi NRG DJ Gives A Thumbs Up At The Rally In Staten Island

Shades Of Color, The Small Business Owned By Several Of The Rally Participants, In The Jefferson Plaza

Shades Of Color, The Small Business Owned By Several Of The Rally Participants, In The Jefferson Plaza

Our Salon Is More Sanitary Than The Big Box Retailers, Let Us Work, Declares The Sign In The Window Of Shades Of Color, A Small Business Affected By The Shutdown In New York

Our Salon Is More Sanitary Than The Big Box Retailers, Let Us Work, Declares The Sign In The Window Of Shades Of Color, A Small Business Affected By The Shutdown In New York

A Group Of Bikers, Owners Of A Motorcycle School On Staten Island Affected By The Shutdown, At The Rally To Reopen Staten Island Small Business

A Group Of Bikers, Owners Of A Motorcycle School On Staten Island Affected By The Shutdown, At The Rally To Reopen Staten Island Small Business

Bicyclists At The Rally To Reopen Staten Island Businesses

Bicyclists At The Rally To Reopen Staten Island Businesses

Steve Margarella With His Dog After The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Was Over

Steve Margarella With His Dog After The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Was Over

The Crowd Begins To Disperse After The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Ends

The Crowd Begins To Disperse After The Save Staten Island Small Business Rally Ends

Steve Margarella Speaks With Protestors After The Rally

Steve Margarella Speaks With Protestors After The Rally

Steve Margarella Speaks To Rally Participants After The Event Ends

Steve Margarella Speaks To Rally Participants After The Event Ends

Steve Margarella's Dog Ready To Go Home After The Rally In Annadale

Steve Margarella’s Dog Ready To Go Home After The Rally In Annadale

Steve Margarella's Dog Watches Him Have A Conversation With A Rally Participant After The Event Is Over

Steve Margarella’s Dog Watches Him Have A Conversation With A Rally Participant After The Event Is Over

Learn To Ride Motorsports School Brought Their Truck And Several Bikers To The Staten Island Protest

Learn To Ride Motorsports School Brought Their Truck And Several Bikers To The Staten Island Protest

A Closeup Of The Motorcycle One Of The Participants Brought To The Annadale Rally

The Front Tire Of The Motorcyle Brought By One Of The Participants Of The Rally To Responsibly Reopen Staten Island

The Front Tire Of The Motorcyle Brought By One Of The Participants Of The Rally To Responsibly Reopen Staten Island

2 Comments

  • Kandy Krusher Kandy Krusher says:

    It’s not cool that so many people gave their lives to their small businesses and now they’re losing them. Support small business by shopping locally.

    A lot of what you can get online you can also get in local stores. Plus there are tons of places that are unique like restaurants.

    We’re lucky to have so many great places to eat.

  • […] There had been numerous rallies across the island, as our many small businesses were left reeling. Locals including Steve Margarella, Bobby Catone, Sam Pirozzolo, Joe Caldarera,  Christine Salica, spoke at events, imploring Staten Islanders to stand together in challenging the idea that only some businesses were “essential,” claiming it was arbitrary that some big box stores were able to remain open while small businesses could not. (see article: Save Staten Island Small Business Rally In Annadale Draws Huge Crowd; Big Media Conspicuously Absent…) […]

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