Famous Italian Americans First Ward Newark Pop Culture

An Overdue Honor: Frankie Valli Way

I recently posted about finally watching the movie Jersey Boys. A number of people asked why he never had a street named after him. Well today that question was answered at Stephen Crane Village.

Francesco Stephen Castelluccio, better known to the rest of the world as Frankie Valli, was finally honored today when “Frankie Valli Way” was unveiled on the border between Belleville and Newark. Many came out to celebrate this long overdue honor to the guy that never forgot where he came from.

Frankie Valli Way
Frankie Valli Way (Credit: Julian Leshay, NJ Advance Media)

He grew up in Stephen Crane Village and his mother, Donata Maria “Mary” Rinaldi Castelluccio, refused to ever leave. He asked her many times to let him buy her a house and she refused. He even offered to move all her friends. This was her neighborhood and that’s where she stayed until she passed away in 1987.

My personal connection to Stephen Crane Village was through my Uncle Sonny. He worked there as a maintenance man for decades. From time to time he would tell us about bumping into Mrs. Castelluccio while working. It was our own little way to be part of the Frankie Valli story.

Today one of our community’s favorite sons received a well-deserved and long-overdue honor. All we can say grazie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *