In this 2006 interview, Anthony Anzalone, a long time resident of the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, talks about his life experiences in this west side neighborhood of Cleveland. Mr. Anzalone grew up in the neighborhood in the 1950s and recounts memories of his Italian grandfather, who played a trumpet in a local band, playing at the Lady of Mount Carmel annual festival and parade. Mr. Anzalone also talks about Our Lady of Mount Carmel as an anchor of the community, and about Father Marino who served at the Church for decades and effected many changes in the neighborhood designed to keep the neighborhood together. Mr. Anzalone also talks about his involvement with Ray Pianka in the 1980s to restore the neighborhood, including the Gordon Square Arcade. Mr. Anzalone talks about a number of the buildings in the area, and businesses in these buildings – both past and present.
Transcription sponsored by Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization
Tony Anzalone [00:00:27] Okay, if I may, if I can correct, the last name is Anzalone. I just wonder if we can correct that since we're being official. [crosstalk] Anzalone. That's okay. My childhood, you know, when I think of childhood, I think of, you know, four or five up to ten years old, those years were viewed from a grandchild point of view in that my family lived and moved around the city of Cleveland. I started at my earliest age of four and I was born, I was told, was born in a house over off of Madison. And then we moved to Lorain Avenue, 122nd, but we moved around, so my relationship with the neighborhood at that time was done through my grandparents who lived on 74th and Franklin. And being Italians, the Sundays were always spent at the grandparents' for dinner. And so every Sunday was the one day out of the week that we spent in the neighborhood. Up until the time as I grew older and then we moved, I found myself living here as an adult. Sunday would be the day we'd come for dinner, for a spaghetti dinner. My grandparents lived upstairs in a double. My aunt and uncle, my grandmother's sister, lived downstairs. So they had their family and it was a very large family. My great-grandmother had thirteen children, all of which who grew up in this immediate Detroit Shoreway area. They all grew up as children on 69th Street and on 67th Street and 65th Street. My grandmother said over these fifty years they probably lived in every single house in this neighborhood, and she's pretty darn close to being correct after that many years. And they all crammed into one of these houses around here and, as everybody else did come the 1960s, everybody grew up and took off. But my grandmother still lived in that... My grandparents still lived in the house on 74th. So we'd go there on Sunday and it would be a real busy time and you'd have fifteen, twenty people at the dinner table. I remember one of the funniest things was to, you know, getting a table about this size, which is almost, what, twelve feet? Putting together a table every Sunday was a joke because they came up with different systems to try to put the slats in to make it big enough to accommodate everybody. And they tried number systems, they tried arrows, they tried color coded, they tried everything. And every time they'd go to try it the next time, it didn't work. So I always remember as a kid just seeing them trying to put this darn table together. They tried "L" shapes. They tried everything. Eventually we always had dinner, and then the women would go in the kitchen and do the dishes, which took a considerable amount of time. The men drank red wine and played cards, played casino, and they shipped us kids off to the Madison Theater right around the corner, and in those days we didn't even have... We just walked there and that was no problem. You could do that then and not have any fear of having any problems. But, and we were only six or seven years old. Just tell us where to go. We knew where to go, and we'd go over to the old Madison on Madison, which is right around the corner. Stay and see, you know, a monster movie or whatever was playing. And by the time we'd come back, the old men were sleeping and drinking off from the wine and things were quieted down. But that was an average Sunday around there, and sometimes we'd do different things. My older uncle would, you know, we'd fly kites there down by the where the railroad, where the RTA is, in this long strip of an open area. We'd always go flying kites out there and do a lot of fun stuff. Physically, it's not... To me in my mind, it looks the same as it did forty years ago. And it pretty much is. I mean, there really isn't anything physically that's changed. It still looks the same. With the exception of Madison Theater, which is a lumber yard now. The best times obviously were Christmas times, things like that, but the best time was when the Our Lady of Mount Carmel held its annual feast every summer, every July 17th, I think, July 13th. And that was a big deal because we got to... Not only did you get to come to Grandma's, you got to go to the feast and the parade, which my grandfather played the trumpet in. And most of the time you get, you know, Grandpa always practiced around the house, just around stand around the house, there was always a... It's like you always hear it in Italian movies like The Godfathers. And when they do the throwback to the old days in the old scenes, if you listen carefully, you always hear a sound of a trumpet playing. It's part of the feel of the whole thing. Somewhere in the background, somebody is playing a trumpet. It was the same. It was kind of like the same thing. It really was that way. It is somebody playing an instrument or practice an instrument or playing to my grandfather. You just walk around the house plan and just practicing playing the trumpet. And it was... So when I see and hear things like that in a movie, it really makes me think of all that. It could be somebody else's house. They're playing stuff because most of the people, a lot of the people, played in the in Sam Belardo's Band, which was pretty impressive stuff in those days. You know, we're talking maybe thirty or forty pieces. They were, and they were older men that were professional musicians and when they'd play, it was very impressive to hear them. I mean, it was a professional band. They played all the different churches that had all the feasts around here at St. Rocco's and over on Murray Hill and Mayfield. They did the whole state. They'd go as far as Mansfield. They'd go to Akron and Canton and Dayton and play all those places down there. So they had a regular circuit that they played. And, as I said, they were something to hear. I can remember being so young that when they came by and the cymbals crashed, I would cry because they would scare me. I would be two or three years old, and my mother's holding me. I'd start crying because it was a startling sound, but I fought through it as I grew up and learned to enjoy it but... And so it was really neat. You'd go and you go the feast at night. And it was all lit up at nighttime and the band would play. Predominantly the band would play most of the night. As a regular, I mean, they'd be playing constantly. Now they just don't... I don't know what they do now, but it's unfortunate. But in those days, it was a big deal. And most of the people went there just to hear and watch that band play. And they played professional pieces. They played the classical pieces in their entirety. And they... Not just a couple of marching tunes. I mean, they they put on a quite a performance. And so we'd go and have the dinner. The dinners would be set up there, right in front of where the band would play, and it was quite a time. It was quite a time, and so I would always follow my grandfather in the... as they marched through the streets. And I remember, I think I told you I was seven years old, and following the band, just following alongside, watching my grandfather. It was hot as it always was hot that day. I mean, it's always unbearably hot that day. That's right. It isn't hot, it's raining, and it's more than likely it's hot. And I remember and the end, he came down. We were just coming down the top from 69th, or I'm sorry, 67th Street, just where, at that time it existed, it was called Alger Court, and it was just a little alleyway that ran from 67th, like a little alley, up to 69th Street. 69th and Detroit. And at 69th and Detroit was a little drugstore. I'm sorry, it was a delicatessen. It was Mazzarello's Delicatessen. And my grandfather... It was hot and he would whip out the handkerchief like Louis Armstrong, you know, with the white handkerchief sweating and wipe it off the sweat and he'd say, Hey, boy, go get a 7-Up, and I ran through Alger Court. I didn't kno it was Alger Court at the time. To me it was an alley. And I ran up there and got him 7-Up and brought it back to him and only to remember that at that spot where he was, where he asked me to go run and get him a 7-Up, turned out to be the exact spot where we, my wife and I, chose to build our have our house built, where as it turned out we had the house built, right there at 67th and Detroit, right at that spot underneath that tree, which was I think one more when it finally had to come down, that tree was about one hundred and thirty years old. We've got some pictures of that tree that go back to the '40s and '30s. But they're right at the spot where that tree is, and that's where he was, and as I say, it turned out to be the place where we ended up living.
Mark Souther [00:12:21] Are we talking about the 1950s, primarily?
Tony Anzalone [00:12:26] Yeah. Late 1950s. So, you know, '58, '59, '57. All through there at that point.
Mark Souther [00:12:37] One thing you mentioned on the phone, I recall, was about the trumpet players doing sort of trumpet calls across the neighborhood. Could you retell that story?
Tony Anzalone [00:12:48] There's a classical piece which is called Carmen, and in one of the sections of that, there's an opening... The way it begins, I mean, I'm trying to think. And when we did it, we had it backwards before. The opening part is distant. The opening trumpet part is distant. And the follow trumpet is closeby and loud. So when it begins, what you would normally see on a stage is, you know, the initial trumpet would be muted, quieter, to give the sense of distance, and then the follow trumpet--would [be] mocking it or duplicating it--is at a full volume to indicate closeness. Well, the way they would present it was they would have a trumpeter on, say on 69th S,treet a block away. And the rest of the ban on 70th by the church, and as it opened, to get it, it didn't need to be muted, it was distant. Almost as if that's the way it was supposed to be played. A trumpet in the distance playing, at where it's at, is playing at full volume, but where it's heard is far away. And then the... So what happens is that the trumpet on 69th Street plays a short piece, and then immediately, when it stops, immediately the second trumpet plays it only at a close distance to the audience. So the effect you get is, you know, they talk about surround sound, I mean, the effect you get is, it's ever... the music it just surrounds you. It's everywhere and it just... It's very hard to explain without actually hearing the effect that that would have. When you hear a distant trumpet and then the close trumpet playing the same thing. It was a nice piece of production when they did that. And I don't know how... I don't know if it's ever been duplicated, to tell you the truth.
Mark Souther [00:15:26] Which part did your grandfather play?
Tony Anzalone [00:15:30] He played, not the distant one, but the close... The one at the band. The close one. The second one. But they would do things like that, they would... I'm just, that one sticks in my mind. I know I remember they used to, they did other things too that were all always creative and... It was funny, as my grandfather got old, got very old, he couldn't remember, he just couldn't remember... He knew the music. He couldn't remember what the piece was called. And I had... I happen to have a tremendous collection of classical stuff, and we sat down for hours trying to find it, trying to find it, trying to find it. When we finally realizing, oh man was Carmen, that was... We should have known that in the beginning. But it was... That music and that band was probably the biggest reason people used to go there. And now it's gambling and sausage sandwiches, I guess, but things change.
Mark Souther [00:16:37] Gambling and what?
Tony Anzalone [00:16:40] Sausage sandwiches. But the music there that was just something that's long gone. They just don't put the emphasis on that sort of thing. Now you have to see it, get to see it in drum and bugle corps and things like that, which, I go, now I go to those, drum and bugle corps stuff, to get that same feeling like I used to get when I was a kid and listen to that band. So... Cool stuff.
Mark Souther [00:17:21] You'd mentioned the feast. I wonder if you to tell me a little bit more about the feast. How did it unfold? What, from the beginning, early in the morning through the day, what would be... guide us through a typical day.
Tony Anzalone [00:17:36] Well, it's changed obviously over the years, just as the band. Changed, everything changed, and it depended on who was in charge. For most of the years that I recall, Father Marino Frascati... [phone rings] I'm sorry. Where was I? Father... Yeah. Father Marino Frascati was in charge of the church most of the time that I was involved. And Father Vincent as well. They were there for a lot of years. So as long as they were there, things went accordingly. And they had their way of doing things, and they did them. In the '80s and '90s things changed. They changed. And they were, as they would... It's really unusual to have the same priest there at a parish for twenty, thirty years. I mean, they usually move around. So as new priests came in, they did things a little bit differently and... But in the end, the time that Father Marino was there, it was... Because you'd get involved in it. You know, you're preparing for that stuff weeks, months ahead of time. But a typical day would be... You know, they would go from, I think, Wednesday to Sunday or Thursday to Sunday. And the first, the first couple of days, I think they only had a gambling permit for three days so they could only, you know, the action really started Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Wednesday and the Thursday would be kind of geared to the younger kids, get the excitement out of their system and let them come and play the rides and the rides have become a larger part than they used to be. Before, over the years, they had simple little things and now they have the... you know, they're on the regular road, the carney route, you know, I mean, now those guys make the routes like the band used to make the rounds, so now they have a big lotto over there and they have all the rides set on that side. In the old days, it was it was more family, you know, you'd get all dressed up and it was a big deal. It was important stuff. And then it all was... The big night was Sunday night. He'd come for dinner and the family, and still is, Sunday night is the big night. And you see people that you haven't seen in years. Some people you don't want to see! You know, it's just a splendid time when they all, because of that exodus from 1960s when they all left and they all live in North Olmsted or Parma or wherever they go, and they all come back, they all come back, you know. And I find that as they get older, more and more of them come back on that Sunday night and they come for dinner. I see more faces. I see more people that I knew, you finally came back. And then they say, oh I really miss this. And, you know, those are the ones you can tell, get stories from because they took all those stories with them. But typical day, you know, you usually don't do anything until dark, till it starts getting dark. You go over there. A lot of beer drinking, a lot of sau... You can't resist that sausage with those onions cooking. They used to be have a stand or a booth or whatever you want to call it. And I don't believe they had that. That's gone by the wayside, too. They don't have that anymore. And it used to be one of the traditional kinds of things at these feasts, Italian ones anyway. And it was, you know, we had to sell, I think, fifty tickets, fifty numbers. And so, you know, you had to use the microphone. And there were only a quarter. Just buy 'em, you know, take it for a quarter. And what you would win is either a gallon of olive oil or one of the big mozzarella cheeses in the ball. And you could take your pick. Or I think there was a thing of wine or something. A gallon, big gallon of wine, for a quarter. You know, they'd take a chance. So, but we couldn't spin the wheel until all the tickets were sold. So it took a lot... It took a lot of interaction with the crowd. And a lot of times people didn't want to stand there, wait and see. You had to bark it up pretty good and get everybody to buy a thing. We only got two left. Let's go. Alright, I'll buy it. So they... And we would do that. And then they, but they don't have that booth anymore. You know, we have it all set up withall the cheeses would be hanging up there and they'd stack up all the gallons of, big gallon cans of olive oil, and I just don't, to tell you truth, I don't think they can afford that stuff anymore. A quarter a pop, you know. Most of that probably got donated. A lot of things got donated from some great people.
Mark Souther [00:23:36] Which church was this affiliated with? I don't think we've said.
Tony Anzalone [00:23:37] Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Mark Souther [00:23:41] Okay, we did say that.
Tony Anzalone [00:23:42] Yeah.
Mark Souther [00:23:52] Speaking of the feast days, you mentioned the different kinds of foods they had, you mentioned sausage sandwiches. What exactly, was is it, what type of sausage was it, like a hot dog sausage?
Tony Anzalone [00:24:07] If you are walking down a street and somebody's got a grill full of onions and green peppers cooking, it really doesn't make... It doesn't really matter what kind of sausage you use! Your nose is gonna go up, and you go, man, does that smell good! So the sausage is kind of secondary to the aroma of onions and peppers. So you get a grill going up there and you put that up. I don't care if you just ate a dinner. Your stomach just goes, oh, wow, I got to eat one of those. So, it's a... It's irresistible. To say the least.
Mark Souther [00:24:50] At what point did you really begin to see your neighborhood changing? Were you ever aware? Was there ever a moment where you really said things are starting to change around here, it's not the same?
Tony Anzalone [00:25:03] Well... Actually, the time I spent here, the Sundays, The Feast, that sort of thing, that was all, you know, that was one way. And then as I grew older, I kind of, I was doing different things and went to different places. Lived in Italy for a year, came back a different person, and at that point, I was, pretty much lived in Toledo for a long period of time. Way too long. So when I got back, I was in this situation where, you know, I was trying to find a place to live independently, and I was on my own. As it turned out, there was... I was able to live over here at the Villa, which was for elderly and disabled, and I lived there for three years. That's when I met my wife. I was working downtown. So that... It's hard, you know, it's hard to say... pinpoint when a change took place. I mean, change takes place on an ongoing basis and a lot of it, for the most part, the only thing that changes are people. Places, everything stayed the same. Like I said, where we used to go play, fly a kite is exactly the same as it was when I was seven years old, to this moment, it's still the same. So most things didn't change at all. The physical, a lot of physicalness, didn't change, Father Marino was the one that created a lot of the change. He knew that there were... He saw his parishioners getting older and he saw them and a need for, you know, a place where they could live and not have to keep up with the house and all that sort of thing and you achieve that. That was one of the, was one of the biggest change was the creation of the the Villa Mercede that was on West 70th behind the church. That was the starter, you know, if you want to talk in the direct neighborhood, and he achieved that, and that was a big deal because it opened up opportunities for a lot of other projects that benefited the community and benefited the people here directly with their lives and helped keep 'em here. I mean, you know, in the '70s and the '80s, you saw... you could see that if someone didn't change for the positive, this place was... it was gonna be over. It wasn't getting, there was gonna... there'd be no retrieving it. It was gonna be, you know, just... It had the potential of being a real ghost town, you know? There was just no merchants, there were just no people. There was no money. There was nothing. And eventually that affects the church, and if the church goes, you can forget it. Once the church leaves the neighborhood, there is no neighborhood. I don't care what neighborhood it is. I don't care what culture it is. It doesn't matter. When the church goes, the neighborhood's gone. And you can look that up statistically. So, the biggest change, if you're going to put a finger on it in this neighborhood, the biggest change was the Villa Mercede, the creation of the Villa Mercede, and there was a lot of local people that had a lot to do with that creation, a lot of a lot of personal money went into that to make it happen. People that were generous enough to put in their own money and their own time to create it, and Father Marino was the one that made it happen.
Mark Souther [00:29:42] Can you spell it? Is it M-A-R or M-E-R?
Tony Anzalone [00:29:45] M-A-R... Marino. M-A-R-I-N-O, I believe.
Mark Souther [00:29:57] Okay, and Villa... What's the second name?
Tony Anzalone [00:29:57] M-E-R as the... Mercede as in Mercedarians. M-E-R-C... I should be slapped for not knowing the spelling. But I don't.
Mark Souther [00:30:14] M-E-R-C-A... Or C-E?
Tony Anzalone [00:30:17] C-E-D... Close enough. You can drive by.
Mark Souther [00:30:23] Where is it located?
Tony Anzalone [00:30:25] West, 1360, I think, West 70th. Can't miss it, it's a ten-story building.
Mark Souther [00:30:33] West 70th? At what cross street? .
Tony Anzalone [00:30:36] It's right at 70th and Detroit.
Mark Souther [00:30:41] Oh, and Detroit.
Tony Anzalone [00:30:41] Yeah, it's a... well, it doesn't dead end anymore, but it's about halfway down West 70th.
Mark Souther [00:30:52] Were any other churches involved in that, or was it primarily Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?
Tony Anzalone [00:30:55] It was Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Mark Souther [00:31:04] What were some of other changes that went along with... Once that was completed, you mentioned some programs that would not have been possible without that in place. Can you recall some of those?
Tony Anzalone [00:31:16] Well, initially, as I said, it was the Villa Mercede began. There was a transformation that took place. I mean, when you get involved in doing a housing development and other kinds of development, it takes places like Detroit Shoreway, which was one of the first ones, development corporations, in the business. They go back a long time. At one time, at one point, there was just councilman, well, there was just Ray Pianka was the director and me as Safety Coordinator and just kind of odds and ends stuff and the secretary. And it was just the three of us kind of doing things and taking care of stuff and holding things together. And we had a goal. I mean, we knew what it was needed. Ray had the experience--Ray, Judge, and now Judge Pianka--had the experience in the neighborhood. [background noise] That's the garbage disposal. It's right behind us. This is part of this building is, if you know where you're at, I mean, I know every inch of this place. It was just a kind of a chain of events that was ultimate. It was inevitable that... And the timing was right where, at that time, the director Ray Pianka chose to run for councilman. It was clearly, you know, everyone, we gave him support, everybody gave support, and it was, that first election was tough because he beat the incumbent and, the incumbent guy got a little ugly and got a little threatening and it was... My house got broken into the day before the election. Yeah, things got a little nasty. But, so he, councilman won, which then now you had a relationship between council, city council, and some of the other projects that were on the table here in the community, in the neighborhood. So, as councilman, he has a responsibility to the entire ward. And he did. But he certainly had a special eye on some of the things here because Detroit Shoreway is where he came from. And a number of things did come up and it helped to spawn all sorts of other projects. Detroit Shoreway's grown from a three-people office on the second floor of this building to what it is now, and it took a number of years, it took twenty-some years. So I'm proud of what they've done and how far they've come and all the different projects that were accomplished. It's really, really exciting and I keep a close watch on what goes on from my house on 70th. I'm sorry, my house is on 67th right across the street here. And, you know, I keep my ear to a lot of the things that they do, so...
Mark Souther [00:35:18] I wanted to ask you about your first memory of being in this building, Gordon Square Arcade.
Tony Anzalone [00:35:26] That was scary. This place, this place was a step back in time. My initial would have been, let's see, '84. Like in the '80s somewhere, early '80s, '82, '83. And it was, as I said, a step out of time. This place was... It was the way it was, and probably since 1960. It was still operating as a hotel, believe it or not. You know, you get the lady sat down here in the middle office with all the keys and all the rooms and all, and she's still operating as a hotel, I have that all captured in time in a video. Actually, I just took it upon myself to videotape this place before before it all changed when they did the renovation of the building and had the apartments upstairs. So I went through it with a video camera through the arcade and the skylight and all that stuff and all, actually right where we're still sitting right here. I've got all this all gutted out, and I've got old Shirley sitting in her office still running this as a hotel and it was old. This place was old and hadn't changed. The flooring for the roller rink was still downstairs in one of the open rooms and it hadn't changed in fifty years. You just had that sense of an old building, but an old building that still had life in it. You could just tell that. This old girl didn't want to give up. She was built strong. I mean, they used this place as an air raid... I think they still have the sign downstairs, the old air raid shelter signs because, I tell you what, if anything dreadful happens, I know the first place I'm coming is down in this basement because this place is stronger than hell. It's built to last and it will probably be the only building standing around here. So it's a cool building.
Mark Souther [00:39:37] What did it look like as a hotel itself? What type of... Who did it attract?
Tony Anzalone [00:39:42] Well, it attracted the worst, well, usually, I don't want to say the worst of the worst. I mean, it attracted people who clearly couldn't afford better accommodations. And more than likely, their lifestyle didn't require... They needed a place to live on what little income they had. That was not totally out of control. It was relatively safe. And it was, even till the last day the owners here kept... I mean, if there was a problem, somebody that caused a problem, they were out of here. They didn't take any nonsense. It was... There was no drug dealing, there was no, I mean, these people drank. They were, clearly a lot of 'em were alcoholics, but they were quiet alcoholics and they didn't bother anybody. If you got out of line, you were gone and, I mean, within a day. There was no... there was no nonsense about it. They booted people out of here and you were gone. You didn't come back. You went across the street. It's a step down. But for people like that, with that kind of lifestyle, and in the olden days it was transients, people that would travel, salesmen, salespeople would come through town and needed a place to stay. Maybe it was off the beaten track. Maybe it was closer to where their clientele was. Who knows? Maybe it was just something that was... Didn't want to... They were salesmen. They didn't want to have... They weren't going to stay in the Sheraton. But, you know, it was a cheap little flophouse that they could stay for a week or whatever. And it wasn't going to cost them an arm and leg.
Mark Souther [00:41:29] Were there any places to eat in this place?
Tony Anzalone [00:41:34] There was, yeah, there was always someplace to eat.
Mark Souther [00:41:37] Or in the street around, you know, outside. What were the places to eat back then? And by the way, are we talking about the '60s or '70s, or are we talking about into the '80s?
Tony Anzalone [00:41:49] Well, I mean, like in the '80s, it was always, they always tried to have... Somebody always wanted to have a nice Italian restaurant and there've been more Italian restaurants in this place. And they were all fabulous. I mean, each one was better than the last. You know, I don't know if it was the economy. I don't know. I don't know what it was. But a lot of local people just didn't come in. They just didn't come to the local restaurant as you would, I mean, gee, my wife and I were here three times a week, you know, they were, it was my second home. It was the best food in the world. And I do a lot of cooking and I enjoy it and... But, you know, we spent a lot of time and a lot of money here. Barbarino's changed names and hands several times and, my goodness, the food was so unbelievable. And it just didn't... The restaurant business in Cleveland is difficult. They used to get a lot more people from the east side than they got regulars from right around the neighborhood. I hate to say it, but you're never going to get neighborhood dollars in an eatery around here. I don't know why. I don't know why that is. They go... They'd rather go to North Olmsted or go to the mall or someplace than just go up and around the corner. I'm not like them. My wife is not like that. We like the idea that something is right around the corner. You know, I just, I mean, it was like we used to have the two best bakeries in town. That was Fiocca's and--God, it's been so long now I can't remember--Isabella's. Right on 69th Street you had two bakeries, bread bakeries, and we used to send our sons. Go, you know, go get to loaves of French bread and a couple of bags of dough. And he'd just run around the corner and you come back with one and a half loaves of French bread and two bags of dough because he had to eat half of it by the time he got back home. Go back and get another one! Was last one they had! So...
Mark Souther [00:44:21] What was the hotel that you mentioned that was a step down from the... What was the Gordon Square hotel? What it's called? The Gordon Square Hotel, or did it have another name?
Tony Anzalone [00:44:31] It was Gordon Square Hotel.
Mark Souther [00:44:33] And what was the one that was across... I believe it was east of here... [crosstalk]
Tony Anzalone [00:44:34] That was the Detroiter.
Mark Souther [00:44:38] The Detroiter? Was it east of here on the same side of the street?
Tony Anzalone [00:44:45] It's south, across the street.
Mark Souther [00:44:50] Where Matt Zone's office is?
Tony Anzalone [00:44:51] Yeah. Exactly. It was that building upstairs.
Mark Souther [00:44:58] Did it go out of business before or after...
Tony Anzalone [00:45:00] No. Detroit Shoreway finally found the right plans to acquire it and it's being renovated as we speak.
Mark Souther [00:45:10] But how long was it a hotel?
Tony Anzalone [00:45:13] Oh, God. Probably as long as this place was. It's been there. The history of that building, I'm not sure, but it's been there a long time.
Mark Souther [00:45:22] Did the hotel that was in this place stay... You said 1980 through 1983 is when you first remember it, but it presumably stayed a hotel, a residential hotel, thereafter until the renovation? Is that correct? Or was it...
Tony Anzalone [00:45:35] Detroit Shoreway?
Mark Souther [00:45:36] Yeah, so that was very recent?
Tony Anzalone [00:45:40] No, it took them a while. It... I don't remember when the actual renovation took place. Really bad on times. I've got it on videotape. When the mayor was here, and Father was here. They had a big to do in the hall, in the arcade. I videotaped it. I was going to bring that too. I don't remember when that renovation took place. I think it might have been as long as in the '90s. But I don't, I really don't remember. Took a while. I mean, it took, it took, it took a number of years to get that done, just to get it off the table and ready to go, you know.
Mark Souther [00:46:30] What about the southeast corner, so diagonally across Detroit from here. What was at that corner in, say, the early '80s?
Tony Anzalone [00:46:37] That was a drug store down below, and residential upstairs. Mostly all the upstairs in all these places are usually, they rent, you know, apartments of some kind, and that was a drug store down below. Pretty important one. And then he moved out.
Mark Souther [00:47:03] So what was the name of this drug store? Do you remember?
Tony Anzalone [00:47:07] Geez, I don't know. I don't remember. It was a chain drug, like a Revco kind of a thing in those days. I don't remember which one it was. And in fact, the pharmacist that owned that building and was the pharmacist at the drug store is now the pharmacist over at Rite-Aid down the street, so it's funny. I don't think he... I think he sold that building and they renovated it and fixed it up. It's a nice style building. But yeah, he works, you know, in fact I gotta go see him soon as I live here.
Mark Souther [00:47:53] What years were you involved in the Detroit Shoreway CDO directly? You mentioned that you were Safety Director?
Tony Anzalone [00:48:05] Yeah, Safety Coordinator. Mmm. Probably like from '82 to... Man, I don't remember. It would be for, probably at least till '90, you probably got ten years, on and off in a number of different positions and responsibilities. But let's say about ten years, that's a reasonable guess. And I was a board member twice. And did a lot of stuff. I was in charge of a summer kid's work program for a few years, and it was, that was fun. Kids were cool. They were neat. And, but most of the stuff is the Safety Coordinator at that time, and I was really... I was always police-oriented and that sort of thing. And that's what I ended up ultimately doing when I retired. It was was Police Dispatcher. So, you know, my mind has always been in that kind of a thought process. But at that time, at Detroit Shoreway, there was a huge, huge prostitution problem. It started out as a prostitution problem just as you would think of prostitutes. But then it changed to basically women trading sex for money so that they could buy drugs. So it really wasn't a prostitution problem; it was a drug problem. And it was always frustrating and difficult to get that across to a board that would say, well, I don't see it. I don't see any prostitutes. Well, look, you're not going to see what you think is a prostitute, you know, a flashy Vegas kind of outfit, you know, all dressed to the nines type of thing. It's people, it's women that live in this neighborhood. It's people that live... I've known people that lived in... married women that lived in outside neighborhoods, wealthy neighborhoods that would come here to make extra money on the side so they could buy drugs, and they didn't want their husbands to know. Locally, there were people that lived in these neighborhoods, so they would dress just like anybody else on the street would dress. You wouldn't know, you're not going to see them because they don't stand out. And it was, like I said, it was always difficult to say they're there. I mean, there's this one and this one. You point to somebody and they go, no, she's not a prostitute. I know her from whatcha... Okay. You know, I'm telling you what the story is. So it became real difficult to get anything done about that, to get... Even the police would say, nah, you know. It took them a while then to get their eyes to open up to what the problems were. So we had a real tough time, safety wise, because where the girls were, that's where the drugs were, and where the drugs were, we would identify, and it took a number of years before the police decided to break down and crack down on these houses and shut 'em down and board 'em up. It's not as... It's not as rampant, it's still there. I shouldn't say it's not as rampant as it's just not... You don't see it, it isn't like it used to, but it's there. Trust me. They're just real quiet about it and they don't stand around on the corner like they used to. You know ,and dealing it that way. Now it's like any other business, they either fold or grow, and now they just, you know where to go, you know where to find it, you know where it's at. And you just do it quietly and nobody says anything. If you cause problems, you cause noise you got cars with boomboxes and stuff, then you can have problems because people don't want to hear it. It's, you know, just keep it quiet and we'll leave you alone. But eventually people started getting wise to that and so the problem is not gone, it's just quiet. So, prostitution isn't as bad as it used to be. I mean, it used to be really bad. Twenty-four hours a day. Everywhere. And it's not like that anymore, which is good.
Mark Souther [00:53:27] Is there anything else that you would like to add? I don't think I have further questions at this point.
Tony Anzalone [00:53:33] No, not really. I'm just glad to see a lot of the things come to fruition, as I said, and I know there's a lot of other new projects that are gonna happen, and I really hope it does. I know how time, things take time. I just hope I'm around long enough to see some of the some of the cooler ideas that they got going and I just hope... I hope that it continues. That people could finally continue to see what the investment is and it's investing in people. And that's where you get your success. You have to invest in people. That's all.
Mark Souther [00:54:27] Thank you very much.
Tony Anzalone [00:54:28] My pleasure.
Interviews in this series were conducted by students and researchers in the History Department at Cleveland State University in partnership with Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO). Interviews took place at Gordon Square Arcade and in other venues in the neighborhood. Select oral histories were accessible for several years in listening stations in the Gypsy Beans coffee house at Detroit Avenue and West 65th Street.