Monday, May 18, 2020

Vinny Peanuts

I missed this sad news, until I saw this memorial on a wall of plywood at Mulberry and Grand in Little Italy.

Vincent Cirelli Sabatino, lovingly known as Vinny Peanuts, died on April 13 from complications of COVID-19. He was 68 years old. His family posted the announcement on Instagram.

He ran Vinny's Nut House, a fixture on the corner for nearly 50 years. At the Feast of San Gennaro, the stand was always brightly lit and busy, with Vinny cutting big bricks of torrone with a knife and a hammer. It was a beautiful thing.

Vinny was one of the last holdouts of authentic Little Italy. As he told Pavement Pieces a decade ago, “There’s no more Italians left. There are no more stands like me. Before, there used to be 10 stands down just this one block that sold Italian food, just like mine. Now, I’m the only one left.”

I always got his lemon cookies, which were the best. Just the best.

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