Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Oteris and Marty

Previously on Orange Crate Art:

We visited no. 2376, once the home of Arthur Avenue Noodle & Macaroni Manufacturing. Today we’ll look at the two establishments that once flanked AAN&MM. To the south, the Baccalà Store.

[2374 Arthur Avenue, The Bronx, c. 1939–1941. From the NYC Municipal Archives Collections. Click for a much larger view.]

Baccalà, salted cod, is a traditional Italian food. No, I’ve never had it.

And just north of AAN&MM, the Oteri Bros. Prime Meat Market.

[2378 Arthur Avenue, The Bronx, c. 1939–1941. From the NYC Municipal Archives Collections. Click for a much larger view.]

These photographs would be worth posting for their own sake — they’re beautiful streetscapes. But there’s a bonus.

Danielle Oteri tells some of the Oteri history here and here: her great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Albino and Grazia Oteri, opened the baccalà store in 1918. The Oteris’ son John (Danielle’s uncle) converted the store to a butcher shop post-World War II. Danielle confirms in a Facebook message (thanks, Danielle; thanks, Elaine) that John previously ran a butcher shop for a short time at no. 2378.

The later shop at no. 2374 is the butcher shop in the opening scene of Marty (dir. Delbert Mann, 1955). You can watch here. Look closely and you’ll see the shadow of the street address on the wall.

[Ernest Borgnine as Marty Piletti. Click for a larger view.]

More from Danielle Oteri:

The scenes of Marty working were shot in Oteri’s Butcher Shop. Uncle John had to teach Ernest Borgnine, who also won Best Actor for his performance, how to cut meat, specifically sausage, so that his scenes would be realistic.

Although the screenplay indicates that Marty’s boss was to be named Mr. Gazzara, Uncle John was able to convince them that his name should be used instead, and in the final cut, Marty refers to his boss “Mr. Oteri” at least four times.

In 1980 my Uncle John sold the shop to Peter De Luca, who runs the shop today. Peter has a butcher pedigree as well. He grew up working in his father’s butcher shop on 143rd Street and Morris Avenue. (The current store is named Vincent’s Meat Market in honor of his father.)
Vincent’s Meat Market is still going strong at no. 2374. No. 2378 is now the second-floor residence above the now-defunct Club Fiasco at no. 2376, which took up the storefronts at nos. 2376 and 2378.

You can hear Marty refer to “Mr. Oteri” twice in the scene with Clara (Besty Blair) in the luncheonette and twice in the scene with his cousin Tommy (Jerry Paris) on the Piletti porch. The second (silent) butcher in the opening scene is played by Silvio Minicotti, husband of Esther Minicotti, who plays Marty’s mother Teresa Piletti.

Related posts
More OCA posts with photographs from the NYC Municipal Archives : A corner in Marty (White Plains Road and E. 211th Street) : Happy birthday, Mr. Piletti (Marty and Clara post-Marty)

And from NYC in Film, a detailed look at various Marty locations, with a photograph of Ernest Borgnine and John Oteri. As Marty would say, Holy cow!

comments: 7

Anonymous said...

great job

Michael Leddy said...


Joe DiBiase said...

Baccalà was part of my family's Christmas eve feast when my mom was alive. The salted cod would be soaked for a long time, with frequent changes of the water, to remove the salt that cured the fish. Pieces of it were wrapped in a mildly sweet dough and deep fried. Sounds odd, but it was delicious.

Michael Leddy said...

Everything I’ve read about baccalà sounds delicious.

Those are all various shapes of baccalà hanging in the window, correct?

Joe DiBiase said...

"Those are all various shapes of baccalà hanging in the window, correct?"

Although it's difficult to be sure, I think so.

Michael Leddy said...

I found this photograph of a baccalà store:

Vadhorn produces salt cod. Those hanging objects must be either packaged fish or advertising. Either way, they look much like the larger object in the Arthur Avenue window.

In other photos, baccalà before preparation looks like long planks, also in the Arthur Avenue window.

Joe DiBiase said...

The plank-like shape is what I remember soaking in the fridge.