May 12 – Happy Birthday Paul Parillo

3df99e4I first realized Paul Parillo had good taste, when he married one of my classmates from the Guy Park Avenue Elementary School Graduating Class of 1966, the lovely Miss Mary Jane Strevy. I first realized he could cook, when I dined at Parillo’s Armory Grill, which was owned and managed at the time by Paul and his brother Ralph. I first realized he had an interest in politics, when he ran against Hugh Farley for the NY State Senate in 1986 and lost. And then in 1987, he ran for Mayor.

At the time, I had been asked to work on the campaign of my friend Joe Pepe who was running against the City Controller back then, John Bintz, in the 1987 primary for the Republican Mayoral nomination. Joe lost to Bintz while Paul defeated the late Vince Jendrzejczak in the Democratic Primary, setting up a Parillo versus Bintz race for Mayor. Since we had just lost to him, I knew Bintz had a well organized and well funded campaign. It didn’t matter. Borrowing his campaign’s theme from the popular children’s book “The Little Engine that Could,” Paul won the election handily and succeeded Mario Villa as this City’s Mayor.

Back in 1987, Parillo felt the City was ripe for an economic rebirth …

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam mayor in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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