Snow can-do: Waterfront District family plows area streets pro bono

Snow can-do: Waterfront District family plows area streets pro bono
Community News Group / Max Jaeger

The “mayor” of this Columbia Waterfront District block may not be able to keep the buses running during a blizzard, but he can keep the streets clear for them.

Woodhull Street resident Louie Formisano and his family plowed waterfront district streets from Rapelye to Sackett in a tricked-out Jeep and a squad of plow-clad four-wheelers for free during the massive blizzard bearing down on the borough. Most Brooklynites were huddled up inside as three inches of snow per hour blanketed Kings County on Saturday morning, but Formisano couldn’t wait to get to work.

“These are my toys,” he said, sitting in a Jeep Wrangler outfitted with a 6-foot plow, flood lights, and storage racks.

The born-and-raised local has been battling snowy streets for decades, he said. Neighborhood kids unwrapped the latest high-tech gadgets this past holiday season, but Formisano was hooking a new salt-spreader onto a gas-powered four-wheeler that his kids use to help him plow, he said.

“My daughters got it for me for Christmas,” he said. “They grew up on those things.”

Formisano has fun, but the self-described “trouble-maker of the block” plows pro bono as a way to give back, he said.

“I did well in this neighborhood,” the 61-year-old retired security professional said. “You give back. It ain’t a lot. Plus, do you want me to crack up doin’ nuthin’? Ya keep busy, ya stay in shape — I got an injured leg here. And it makes me happy.”

His cousin plows sidewalks between Hicks and Columbia streets with a snow-blower, and his wife shovels neighbors’ steps. Formisano even crosses into Carroll Gardens to clear streets in front of the 76th Precinct, he said.

Neighbors, who described Formisano as the block’s unofficial “mayor,” understandably appreciate his efforts.

“It’s great, Lou’s always helping everybody — it’s a great sense of community on this block,” said Michael Gidaly, who lives across the street.

But the extra care Formisano takes on his own street makes it a hotbed for post-storm drivers, his wife said.

“We’ll be the cleanest block when the snow stops,” said wife Regina. “And then everybody in the neighborhood wants to park on our block.”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.