A 90-year-old borough native has become a pin-up in an upcoming 2010 calendar.
Joe Manzo, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, is the oldest model in the soon-to-be-published “nearly nude” pin-up boys of the Atlantic Shores retirement community calendar.
The retirement community is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“Brooklyn taught me to be myself mostly, and that when you feel that life has dealt you a raw deal you don’t have to go far to find someone worse off,” said Manzo, a spry 5-foot-11 and 175 pounder.
Manzo recalled moving around through the borough a lot as a child.
“I was born at 444 DeKalb Avenue and we finally settled on 82nd Street right near Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge,” recalled Manzo. “Both my parents were from Italy and my dad was a barber. He worked at a lot of different shops and even worked at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan for a period of time.”
Manzo, the second of four boys, credits his being active as a youth, in part, to his longevity.
“I was outdoors quite a lot. I played stickball in the streets of Brooklyn along with punch ball and touch football,” he said, adding he also played sports at the Manual Training High School, now John Jay High School at 237 7th Avenue in Park Slope, from which he graduated.
Manzo said he always liked working with his hands and left Brooklyn for good at 20 to join the Navy. A World War II veteran, he spent his military time in Virginia.
After the service, he remained in the state and is retired from working in sheet metal and for the government in ship instruction.
“My mother was very strict on vegetables. She would serve a bowlful every night and we would have to eat them first,” said Manzo. “But I eat all kinds of food. I love fried chicken, but I’m not that keen on pasta. I also like seafood and eat red meat, but just in small portions.”
Manzo, a widower after 62 years of marriage, also keeps active playing a little golf, reading and attending a regular exercise class at the retirement community.
As for the calendar, Manzo said one of the ladies who was putting it together called him to participate and was told someone else recommended him.
Since the photo shoot, Manzo said he’s done some publicity and even appeared on local television.
“It made me feel good, but I’m glad it’s over and done with. I’m not much into that kind of thing,” he said.
Women looking to hook up with the spry Manzo, however, should know thathe’s already spoken for.
“I have a special woman here and we have dinner together, and whenever there’s a function, we usually go together. You have to stay as active as you can at 90,” he said.
The Pin-Up Boys of Atlantic Shores calendar is available online at www.atlanticshores.com or by calling (757) 426-0000 or toll free at (800) 821-2774.