Dec. 26, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Woodside’s Nunziato Florists has closed, with the Roosevelt Avenue building it called home recently selling and marking the end of an era for the neighborhood.
The florist, located at 51-28 Roosevelt Ave., closed up shop in recent months after operating out of the one-story building on the busy corridor for nearly a century.
Property records show that the shop, along with the two-story home next door at 51-24 Roosevelt Ave., were sold for about $3.68 million in late November.
The buyer is listed simply as “52 Roosevelt Ave Inc,” with no building or demolition plans filed yet for the property.
Nunziato Florists was established in 1910 by Anielllo Nunziato, an Italian immigrant from Naples whose name is still seen today engraved in the brick facade of the building, built in 1931.
Nunziato had started in the mausoleum industry as a stone cutter, but later established the flower shop, which would be passed down through two generations of the Nunziato and Gioia families.
The families’ presence in Woodside was far-reaching. Neil Gioia, who is listed as chairman and secretary of the business, is also father to Eric Gioia, who previously served as the area’s council member.
Anthony Nunziato, grandson to Aniello and owner of Enchanted Florist in Maspeth, said the family, especially the newer generations, had been in conversations for some time about selling the property.
“It’s kind of heartbreaking to see,” Anthony said. “Nobody went back into the business.”
While Anthony has run his separate flower shop in Maspeth since the late 80s, and was not involved in the Roosevelt Avenue business since, he remembers working at the shop with the rest of his large family over the decades.
“It was just a big family affair,” he said, noting that most of the family lived just blocks away from the shop. “All of us worked—it was a dynasty, almost.”
Nikki Gioia, who died in 2005 at 86, was the face of Nunziato Florists, Anthony said, and ran the day-to-day operations of the shop. Nikki’s sons, Michael and John, were the last to run Nunziato Florists up until its sale.
The end of the longtime business comes as the block and neighboring sites are undergoing significant change. The J & Sons Supply property on the corner of 51st Street and Roosevelt Avenue, just footsteps away from Nunziato Florists, sold for $15 million in 2017 and is slated for demolition.
The Payag restaurant next to the flower shop, meanwhile, also closed in 2017.