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I was born and raised in the Italian American ghetto of Bensonhurst Brooklyn during the golden era of the1940’s, 50’s 60’s, the first son of Salvatore & Dorothy Alba, and had the distinct experience of growing up in a family business that was the center of my universe, Alba Pastry. Started by my Sicilian immigrant grandparents in 1929. I was 12 years old when my parents decided to get me off the streets and put me to work in the store, where I performed every function from waiting on customers, working in the shop, preparing payrolls, and my favorite, selling Italian ices to all those young women walking the streets.
Our large extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived witting a 2 block radius, and we were all part of each other’s daily lives. Holidays were large family gatherings, and as the meal progressed, the men shed their jackets, then their ties, and rolled up the cuffs of their starched white shirts, getting comfortable for napping while the women did the clean up. The card games began after the snooze, and deserts and cordials were served. This way of life gradually disappeared as relatives could afford nicer homes in nicer neighborhoods, and although we stayed in touch and saw each other on major holidays, our world had changed.
After graduating from Brooklyn College, I enlisted in the US Army Reserve and did my basic training in Fort Dix, N.J. My parents visited every Sunday and brought me an abundance of good home made Italian food, and enough pastries and cookies from our store to share with the entire barracks. After fulfilling my Army medic training at Fort Sam Houston, I returned to Brooklyn, sought employment outside the family business, and went to work for Abraham & Strauss, the department store on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. My career took me further and further from Brooklyn, and I purchased a county home in 1981 in Woodland Valley, which eventually became my full time residence, we raised 2 sons here, and I now live a life of joyous solitude nestled in these beautiful mountains.
I was born on January 26th, 1975 in Catskills, NY. I am an Italian Argentinian American as my mother was born in Mendoza, Argentina and my father in Asolo, Italy. My wife Stephanie and I are current owners of Reginato’s Ristorante, which was started in 1982 by my father Giampaolo and mother Nelida along with my father’s brother Roberto.
I enjoy spending time with my family, Stephanie my wife, Sofia my daughter and Bailey and Becho my dog and cat. We do a lot of traveling and especially enjoy camping and boating.
I also volunteer my time with the Ulster County Italian American Foundation, People’s Place food pantry and thrift shop and hold the chair on the Town of Ulster Zoning Board.