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Guide to the Brooklyn Navy Yard oral history collection ARC.003

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Amy Lau, Mary Mann, Aliki Caloyeras, and Margaret Fraser

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on  , September 3, 2020
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

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Oral History Interview with Frank Siragusa, June 24, 2008

Biographical / Historical

Frank Siragusa (1928- ) grew up in uptown Manhattan in an Italian family. He quit school at 16 to work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, since his father would not let him join the Navy. Siragusa worked at the Navy Yard for about six months. Before joining the Navy in 1945, Siragusa worked at a cheese factory and the Hotel New Yorker. He served four years in the Army, after which he went back to school on the GI Bill and became a musician and a music teacher. He later lived in Queens, Great Neck, NY and eventually retired and moved to Florida.

Scope and Contents

During his interview, Frank Siragusa (1928- ) remembers his six months working as a painter at the Navy Yard. When he started, he painted pipes using lead paint, which injured his hands. After he recovered, he began working with a trompe l'oeil painter, who could make iron look like wood. He talks about his friendship with this painter, and the two of them discussing philosophy, spirituality and history. Siragusa worked a few other jobs before joining the Navy, including at the Hotel New Yorker, where he saw the plane crash into the Empire State Building in 1945, shortly before he enlisted. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview can be accessed onsite at Brooklyn Historical Society's Othmer Library and online at the Oral History Portal.

Subject Organizations

  • New York Naval Shipyard

Subject Topics

  • Buddhism
  • Family
  • Immigrants
  • Italian Americans -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Religion
  • Shipbuilding -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Shipyards -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Transportation
  • Work environment -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • World War, 1939-1945

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Great Neck (N.Y.)
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) |x Emigration and immigration