Joaquina Raxon said she met D’Alto in April of 2003 when he was the owner of the deli Mamma Maria Salumeria. “He was always offering free things and saying ‘try this, try that,’” Raxon said.
Raxon admits to meeting D’Alto at a very emotionally confusing time in her life. At five months pregnant, her child had just been diagnosed with Down syndrome. “At this point, I was crying all the time, every day,” she said. “Cono told me not to cry. He told me she will be perfect, just as she is, and he gave me so much support.”
Smiling and holding D’Alto’s picture, Raxon said the first person that saw her daughter when she was born was D’Alto. One month after her daughter’s birth, D’Alto joined Raxon again at her daughter’s Baptism as her godfather. “This man - I don’t have a word for him - he’s an excellent person,” she said.
Raxon expressed regret regarding the city’s rejection to name the corner of Conselyea and Graham streets “Cono D’Alto Corner.”
“So many people knew him,” she said. “I don’t understand why they were so stubborn regarding the issue.”
Malcolm Sanborn-Hum, communications director for Councilwoman Diana Reyna, said Reyna’s office helped submit paperwork to the City Council along with signatures from D’Alto’s family and community members supporting renaming the street corner in Williamsburg.
“This is about a community coming together and trying to designate something in honor of someone,” Sanborn-Hum said. “The community should have the ultimate say.”
However, the City Council did not vote to rename the street despite efforts from family, friends and community members who knew D’Alto. An unofficial renaming ceremony was held recently at the corner in D’Alto’s honor.