HOWARD BEACH,NY – New York Community Bank President and CEO Joseph R. Ficalora was honored on October 8 as the Man of the Year by the Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York (the Italian Cultural Association of New York- ACINY)at their 10th Annual Gala which was held at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach. With 500 guests in attendance, the event was a highlight of the Columbus Day celebration of Italian heritage and culture.
ACINY Chairman Tony DiPiazza gave the welcoming remarks at the event. He said, “It has certainly been another year full of accomplishments and excitement as we worked with the help of many people to promote our culture and heritage of which we are very proud.”
DiPiazzanoted the success of the Italian music festival which took place on October 7. The song competition featured five singers from Italy and five from outside of Italy and was broadcast on the Italian television station RAI Italia. The chairman then presented the awards to deserving community members including Ficalora as Man of the Year, Italian singing star Arisa as Woman of the Year, and Michael Martone as Businessman of the Year. Maurizio Troia received the Christopher Columbus Award, while Distinguished Service Awards went to Anthony D’Angelo and Mark Cortegiano, Esq., and the USA-Italy Friendship Award to Nicolo Rizzo, the Mayor of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. DiPiazza presented the Chairman’s Award to Annette Cipolla for her “hard work, and unwavering and unparalleled support for our organization.”
In accepting his award as Man of the Year, Ficalora simply said, “Thank you,” as DiPiazza then continued his acknowledgement of the generous support of the New York Community Bank and Ficalora. He noted that he and Ficalora come from nearby towns in Sicily and that the photograph on the cover of the commemorative journal for the gala was of Ficalora’s ancestral hometown- Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily. The Mayor of Castellammare del Golfo Nicolo Rizzo, also present at the gala and an honoree, expressed his best wishes, congratulated, and thanked Ficalora for all his efforts, noting the pride felt in the town for the achievements of one of their own.
DiPiazza said, “Mr. Ficalora truly embodies the entrepreneur spirit and ideals we Italian-Americans are proud of. Mr. Ficalora has been financially very supportive of our endeavors and for that we are very grateful.”
Ficalora told The National Herald that he was honored to receive the award from ACINY.
He joined New York Community Bancorp as a teller at the age of 18 and was named president and chief executive officer in 1993. Ficalora is a member of numerous boards in Queens, including those of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, the Museum of the Moving Image, New York Presbyterian/Queens, the Flushing Cemetery and the New York Hall of Science. In addition, he serves on the Advisory Council of the Queens Museum of Art. Ficalora also serves as a director for the New York Bankers Association, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, Pentegra Services, Inc., the Foreign Policy Association, Pentegra Retirement Trust, Peter B. Cannell & Company, Inc., the New York Community Bank Foundation, and the Richmond County Savings Foundation. He is also a member of the American Bankers Association’s American Bankers Council and its Government Relations Council Administrative Committee. A Vietnam veteran, Ficalora served for three years in the 1960s. His personal foundation, the Ficalora Family Foundation, primarily supports education and cultural initiatives. Ficalora attended Pace’s Lubin School of Business. He and his wife, Alice, are well-known philanthropists in the local communities in New York.
Ficalora will be featured in an extensive interview in the upcoming issue of The National Herald and in Ethnikos Kirikas’ Periodiko.