Monday, January 19, 2009

Star of Queens: John D. Calcagnile - The Queens Courier

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John D. Calcagnile - Architect
Member of the Board - International Society of S.S. Cosma and Damiano, Howard Beach

Community Involvement: John D. Calcagnile has been a member of Community Board 10 for over a decade and a member of the Land Use Subcommittee. He is also a member of the board of the International Society of S.S. Cosma and Damiano (which is planning a dinner dance in April and will be holding the first annual Juvenile Diabetes Walkathon in Howard Beach in May), and a founding member of the Howard Beach Columbus Day Foundation. In relation to that organization, Calcagnile has served as chair of the Parade Committee, and has organized the annual Columbus Day Parade for the last three years along Cross Bay Boulevard.

He also served as Past Vice President of the Queens Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Calcagnile has done a lot of pro-bono work for Our Lady of Grace Parish; has worked with the Howard Beach Civic Association when it received a grant for Charles Park; and is currently working, pro-bono, with the Broad Channel American Legion Post in installing a new flag pole memorial in the park, in memory of the community’s war veterans.

Personal: Calcagnile was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn. He has been married to Cecilia for 30 years; the couple has two children, Gerard, 27, and Lisa, 24.

“We’ve been living in Howard Beach since we were married,” he said. The family purchased a home in Old Howard Beach in 1981; in 1983, Calcagnile was licensed by New York State to practice architecture; and in 1985, he opened his business, John D. Calcagnile Architect, which is currently located on Cross Bay Boulevard.

Proudest Moment: “For both myself and my wife it’s raising our children - watching them grow, pursue and succeed in their chosen professions.”

Lisa, he said, just received her master’s in education from St. John’s University; Gerard is pursuing a degree in construction management from Pratt Institute and currently has an internship with Turner Construction Corp.

Biggest Challenge: “As parents, our biggest challenge is always to keep our children focused,” he said. “We want to maintain our family history, traditions and Italian heritage and keep these alive for the next generation.” Professionally, Calcagnile said, “As an architect practicing on a local level, a big challenge is coming up with new and unique designs for clients.”

Favorite Memory: “The birth of my children,” he said.

Inspiration: Calcagnile cites his inspiration as “The example that our parents and grandparents set for us - it inspired us to get involved in the community.”

He notes that Howard Beach has the “same sense of community I was used to as a child, growing up in East New York, Brooklyn,” which was also a source of inspiration.