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‘Mayor of Long Island City’ Frank Carrado Dies at Age of 89

Carrado receiving an award from the Queens Council of the Arts for his photography. (Greater Astoria Historical Society)

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.”

Carrado dressed in one of his colorful shirts that he was known for (Facebook)

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.

A flyer for Carrado’s 2017 exhibition. (Greater Astoria Historical Society)

Source: Carrado Family


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Too bad he didn’t start shooting in the 1950s when LIC was still a busy manufacturing area; however, the zoning change in the early 2000s really brought about the demolition of so many of the old buildings to be replaced by high-rise residential and Frank caught that. RIP, Your Honor.


His photos are important reminders of where Long Island City came from–waves of immigrants, importantly Italian people seeking a life free of poverty–and the work life they found here. Children walked to school at P.S.1, now the museum. Village life was in the DNA brought here, and Frank, who I met twice, kept that family spirit, of a village kept safe with daily greetings, acceptance, worship and human kindness.


I never got to know this genuinely nice guy, though I saw him occasionally through the years in the neighborhood, sometimes taking photos. He seemed like a really happy and decent person, and it was obvious he was really well liked by people he was shooting the bull with. He was just like many of the people I’ve come to know through many years in LIC.

I have no idea who is hitting the thumbs-down, but I know enough to guess who you might be. I highly doubt you knew Frank well or had some kind of decades-long beef with him to warrant your reaction. So I am left to conclude that you are merely just another sad excuse of a person, sitting, lonely and empty, in front your screen, deriving some kind of thrill by crapping down on a guy you will clearly never hope to measure up to. Frank’s friends and family know the kind of man he was — one you will never hope to be.


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