Nicola (Nick) Ambruso was born in Salandra in 1895. He came to America with his widowed mother and two younger sisters in 1922. He first lived in Garfield, NJ and was employed as a textile worker in Paterson, NJ. In about 1929, he bought a house near the elevated train route in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. According to the 1930 US Census, he was living at this house with his mother, Pasquarosa (Rose), and his sisters Helen and Tina. His sister Silvia and her husband Anthony and daughter Carmela (Millie) were also living with him. In March of 1931, Nick married Mary Valentino in Manhattan. Mary was born in Laurenzana in 1900 and came to the USA with her mother in 1904. She was the oldest of six children. Her father Rocco was in New York since 1902 establishing his business. He was a hair dresser.Shortly after Nick and Mary got married, they moved to a large house with four separate apartments in Astoria, Queens, NY. They had two children: a daughter, Esther, born in 1932, and a son Rocco born in 1934. According to the 1940 US Census, the house was pretty crowded. The Ambruso’s lived in one apartment and the other three were rented out to tenants. Living in the large Ambruso apartment were Nick and Mary, the two children, Esther and Rocco, grandmother Pasquarosa, Helen and Diana. A lot of Ambruso’s. As odd as it may sound, records show that in 1942 Nick was still working in the silk mill in Paterson, NJ and commuting daily. His daughter Esther said he had some sort of car pool arrangement.
Garfield, NJ may have been the center of activity for this branch of the Ambruso family for the first few decades of the 1900’s; but Astoria quickly took over as the family center, even after the matriarch, Pasquarosa, passed away in 1948. There were always Ambruso’s living at or visiting at Uncle Nick’s. What memories do you have of Uncle Nick’s house in Astoria? Write a comment below.