Growing up in Little Italy, during the winter months, the Alta House provided a place of constant activity. I can vividly recall opening up the large, at the time, wooden door, and the distinct smell of the place engulfing my senses. Mr. Sam Puliafico, always would seem to know who was entering, even before you would actually see him in his office. I can see Cesar gathering children to take to the pool, either for lesson’s or open swim. I can see the various art work hanging on the walls, crafted by various neighborhood children. I can see Ricky Chamberlin and Mario Mastrandrea playing Ping-Pong, and see various CYO basketball practices taking place, and hear the constant sound of Mr. Puliafico’s voice resonate through the building.
Of all the grandiose memories I have of that magnificent building, what stands out in my memory is Mr. Puliafico. No matter what was happening outside the Alta House-bad times at home, disagreements among friends, etc., Mr. Puliafico strived to provide a refuge, a safe haven for the children of Little Italy. For as long as I live, I will never forget the grand place, and never forget what a pillar of a man Mr. Puliafico was