April 12, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
Frank Carrado, a life-long Long Island City resident who was colloquially known as the “Mayor of Long Island City,” passed away last night. He was 89 years old.
Carrado died at around 7:30 p.m. at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, a result of a stroke that he suffered a number of months ago.
Carrado lived in the Long Island City his whole life and was described by those who knew him best as a relic of the old LIC. He was known for his captivating stories of a much gruffer neighborhood.
“With the loss of Frank, we lose a part of Long Island City,” said Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association. “Frank, our unofficial Mayor, was alway happy to share the stories of the neighborhood and his historic photos of the LIC which, but for him, would have been lost for posterity. I was blessed to call this one-of-a-kind character a friend. A great storyteller and a wonderful, gentle soul, he will be missed.”
In 2005, Carrado began documenting the area’s transformation through his camera lens, wanting to preserve the neighborhood for future generations. Two years later, an exhibition of his photos were put on display at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Thanks to Carrado’s many neighborhood friends and admirers, it was one of the Historical Society’s most popular exhibitions to date, said Bob Singleton, executive director of the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
“Frank was an important link between the Long Island City of the future and it’s past, and people like him are a very important touchstone for all of us so we can understand the richness of the community,” Singleton said. “He was like a bottomless well of fabulous information about the community’s DNA.”
According to Singleton, Carrado’s photography was not meant to try to keep LIC in the past, but rather remember what it was as residents move into and embrace the future. The Queens Council of the Arts also recognized Corrado’s photography, giving him an award for the 2007 exhibition.
Carrado was the kind of person to draw the attention of even the most important people in the room. Singleton recalled one time where Carrado attended an event at Gracie Mansion where he was approached by then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who asked who Corrado was.
“He says ‘I’m Frank Carrado, I’m the Mayor of Long Island City. Who are you?’ and he says ‘Well it’s nice to meet you. I’m the Mayor of New York City,” Singleton recalled. “And the two of them sat down and talked about the East River. He was a guy like that, that the Mayor of New York City would sit down and talk to the Mayor of Long Island City.”
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer also lamented Carrado’s passing.
“Frank was a fixture in Long Island City for decades. Our Mayor of LIC, he was ubiquitous on Vernon Blvd. as well as at any event in and around LIC. He could tell great stores and he loved to tell them. He cared about the neighborhoods of western Queens and was a living reminder of a very different time and place. They really don’t make them like Frank anymore.”
Carrado’s wife predeceased him, and he is survived by his daughter and three grandchildren.