Personality Profile: Dom Cosentino

family photoIn this month’s Personality Profile, Ciao Pittsburgh chatted with former Pittsburgh and current Brooklyn, NY resident, Dom Cosentino. A former writer for Deadspin.com, Dom is now a beat writer covering the New York Jets for NJ.com and The Star-Ledger. Dom was kind enough to respond to some of our questions about his Pittsburgh roots, sports journalism career as well as his Italian heritage.

CP: First, tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

Dom: I grew up in Pittsburgh, and even though I haven’t lived in the area for many years, I’ll always be proud to say I grew up in Pittsburgh, and to remind people I grew up in Pittsburgh. My paternal grandparents emigrated from Calabria in the 1920s. They came separately—my grandfather, Domenick, who I’m named for, came first. My grandmother, Caterina, arrived three years later. My father’s name was Richard, and Doreen is my Irish/German mother. I have three siblings: Cathy, Richard, and Michael. They all still live in the Pittsburgh area. I get back to Pittsburgh several times a year for visits. I’ve been gone a long time, but I miss it. I’ve been married a year and a half to a wonderful woman named Megan, and we have a fantastic son named Cameron, who’s about eight months old.

CP: What’s it like being a beat writer for the New York Jets?

Dom: Pretty intense. The Jets are never dull. There always seems to be something going on with someone or something in that organization. And they’ve had an incredibly busy offseason that began with the firing of head coach Rex Ryan—the guy’s a reporter’s dream—and the general manager, and continued with a bunch of free-agent signings, plus a contract dispute. I compete with reporters from all of the New York City papers, including the tabloids, so I work a lot. But I love it. It’s the sort of work I always wanted to do after spending years covering high school sports in Pennsylvania. My only qualm is that it’s a much easier job for someone who’s single and childless, since it can be quite a grind at times. But all in all, I really can’t complain.  [Read more…]

Personality Profile: Dino Sciulli

photoIn this month’s profile of Italian-Americans, we recently chatted with former Pittsburgher, Dino Sciulli, 40, who owns a barbershop in Baja California, Mexico.

First, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and what you do for a living? I grew up in the south Oakland area of Pittsburgh. My mother and father’s heritage goes back to a small town in the Abruzzo region of Italy called Gamberale. My father’s parents immigrated before my mother’s parents did. My dad was born in Pittsburgh and my mom came over in 1959. I currently live in Baja California, Mexico. I own a Barbershop and have been a licensed professional for over twenty years.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your career? The most rewarding part of my career is serving people and helping them look and feel good.

What are some of your favorite Italian traditions and why? I loved the wedding cookies that my folks would bring home after weddings. The food that comes with being Italian is my favorite tradition. It’s all about the food… and family! 

What does being Italian mean to you? Being Italian is to be hard working and respectful. 

What accomplishments in life are you most proud of? I am proud to have opened my barbershop. It’s been a twenty year dream for me. I am proud that I stuck with it. Who knows how long it will last, but at least I went for it!

What are some of your favorite hobbies? I enjoy surfing and trying new recipes, especially Italian recipes. 

Who in your life has inspired you the most? My fiancé Lupe

Personality Profile: Jerrold Vincent Anthony Rispoli

imageCiao Pittsburgh’s Personality Profile series on current and former Pittsburghers continues this month as we learn a little about Jerrold Vincent Anthony Rispoli, a local teacher, originally from Long Island, NY, who specializes in special education. Jerrold discussed what being Italian means to him and shares with us his Italian background as well as some of his favorite Italian traditions.

CP: First, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and what you do for a living? 

Jerrold: My wife and I are the parents of three children—Nick, 13, Anna Marie, 11, and Joseph Vincent, 8. Our boys play baseball for the Shaler Thunder Travel Baseball Team.   Nick plays for the 13U team and Joe plays 9U.  We have great kids and great families and great coaches who enjoy being together. I coach both of their teams as well as keep the fields maintained and looking good.

The most rewarding part is that I get to see kids develop and mature into fundamentally sound baseball players. Most are learning respect for the game and to represent themselves and their family through sport. My daughter, Anna, loves music and enjoys her clubs/programs including Girls on the Run and the Sarah Heinz House. She is my special girl and is the sweetest child I know.  She loves watching her brothers play ball and gets very angry when umpires make bad calls during the ball games.  

We also have an awesome pug named Rocco who is currently on vacation visiting his cousin Biff in Conneaut Lake. As a teacher, I specialize in Special Education. I love my job and enjoy the people who I work with. I have great principals and colleagues.

CP: What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Jerrold: Just like my coaching experiences and seeing kids grow, the single most rewarding aspect of my teaching career is when kids “get it.”  What we call in the business “getting it” is the relationship between hard work and effort producing good work and earning good grades. Unfortunately, we cannot reach all the kids but the ones we do make it all worthwhile.   [Read more…]

Personality Profile: Robert Tick

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Ciao Pittsburgh is launching our new and improved Personality Profile series on current and former Pittsburghers and what being Italian means to them. 

I am Italian!!!

(as told to Ciao Pittsburgh by Robert Tick)

I was born on a cold winter day at West Penn Hospital on February of 1946.  My parents lived in Squirrel Hill in half of a double house with my father’s sister Aunt Bessie. Dad was a Russian Jew and Mom was a German Catholic.  My Dad told my Mom it was OK to raise the kids Catholic.  However to appease Aunt Bessie she was told the kids would be raised with no religion and choose what they wanted to be when they came of age.  One day my sister was in the back yard proudly wearing her First Holy Communion pin.  When my sister showed my Aunt the pin she immediately told my Dad he and his family had to move. I was 6 months old and don’t remember her or living in Squirrel Hill.

My Dad bought a house on Bennett Street in Homewood and opened his 5 & Dime Dry Goods store in Brushton.  Homewood in those days was a wonderful neighborhood to live in.  Mother of Good Counsel church was a block away and the neighborhood was almost entirely made up of people from Naples Italy.  My Dad loved Italian food and Mom learned to cook it from all the wonderful women in the neighborhood.  I think I was the only one in school whose last name did not end in a vowel. I was probably 10 before I realized the not everyone was Italian and Catholic! 

[Read more…]

Italian-American Profiles of Success: Frankie Caravello

image1Turning His Passion into a Thriving Business

Since he was 21, Frankie Caravello has had a love and a passion for saltwater aquariums. The 2nd generation Italian-American from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has always been into saltwater coral and fish.  An aquarium is something he can look into and just get lost in—to him, it’s another world and just seems to wash all the problems away.

Frankie, now 37, turned that passion into a successful business of selling saltwater coral and fish. Over the last couple years, his website, www.exotic-reefs.com, has became one of the most popular retail sites in the industry.

Frankie took some time to chat with Ciao Pittsburgh recently about his business and his Italian heritage.

CP: Can you the tell the readers a little about yourself?

Frankie: I’m a second generation Italian born here in the states. My daughter, who is 17, lives with my girlfriend and I. My parents live five minutes up the street. I also have two sets of Aunts and Uncles who live in the same town. We’re all close and get together as often as possible. My family and I moved here about six years ago and opened up a used car dealership. Business has been good and we even opened up a second location about three years ago.

[Read more…]