Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who's Who In Knickerbocker Village History: John J. Lamula

John Lamula could actually go to the very top of the list. That's because he's mostly responsible for what was the defining event in the KV lives of my friends and I, the creation of the LMRC (Lower Manhattan Republican Club) little league team. I'm unsure about the history of the Two Bridges Little League, but what I do know there were few opportunities for KV kids to play organized baseball unless you were affiliated with one of the churches.
Now I don't believe there was any rule at the time that said that you had to attend a church or go to the parochial school of that church in order to play on that team, but that would have been a helluva leap of faith for a Jewish kid. There was the Educational Alliance which had a team which was non-denominational, but that didn't seem to be a more utilized option for some reason. Richard Karney and Bobby Nathanson, I believe, played for them for one year and then "came Back" to LMRC. Back to John Lamula. I would characterize him as a liberal Republican who concentrated on good government issues rather than partisan politics. He opened a political club on Market Street, across from the A and P in what had previously been a delicatessen. In was not a "sin" for an immigrant rooted Knickerbocker family to vote Republican in local elections at that time, since the regular Democrats were dominated by Tammany and clubhouse politics. Duke Viggiano, a Carmine DeSapio loyalist, was the local Democractic Club leader. In the article here his "Truth Squad," which included my father, was revealing wasteful city practices. I believe he may have been attempting a possible political comeback at the time. He had been a State Assemblyman in the early 1940's. I also think he was, pragmatically, looking to gain attention for his brokerage firm. I worked for that firm for a couple of summers as a "runner" along with Joey Moscarella whose dad worked for John. John Lamula Square has been named for the junction of Market and Monroe Streets.

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