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Century-Old Nunziato Florists Closes, Building Sells for $3.6M

Nunzato Florists at 51-28 Roosevelt Ave. (Queens Post)

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 property at 51-24 Roosevelt Ave., next to the flower shop, which sold as part of the same transaction. (Google Maps)

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.

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23 Comments

Gerald

PLEASE NO MORE APARTMENTS OR CONDO’S!
PLEASE NO MORE APARTMENTS OR CONDO’S!
PLEASE NO MORE APARTMENTS OR CONDO’S!

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Used to live in Astoria

To be honest,I did not care for the flower shop. Good riddance .I went there once And turnoff by their lousy dead flowers they sold . They were not the florist I was used to when I lived in Astoria near Broadway. So whenever I need ed a nice arrangement
I head back to Broadway where just looking at the flower there put a smile on your face !!!

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Eileen Mc

This business was truly hometown. Who among us didn’t go to school with either a Nunziato or a Gioia? My parents even did. In those grieving times, when a loved one died, you could go there and get what was needed, no questions, no money or card was necessary. A handwritten bill would arrive in the mail, with a short note. This was still true just a few short years ago. They will be truly missed, just as a beloved neighbor.

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SMH

My mother bought my Holy Communion bouquet there. I always ordered flowers for wakes from them and people loved them. It makes me sad that no one in the family was willing to continue the business, but as generations come they lose touch with each other. Very, very sad. I bought plants there every season for my garden. And I know Mike supplied the garden behind Sunnyside park at least until it started taking in people from outside the neighborhoodover those from in it.

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Jane

I thought the same thing. I thought the sad part about them closing was that nobody wanted to continue their family business.
I grew up going to Nunziatio’s for any & all floral “anything”! LOL. whether it be a single flower( although you never walked out w/ just one) 😉, a plant,bouquet, funnels, weddings, etc. They were your “Go To” florist. Not only did I grow up knowing the Nunziato’s, but my parents, &grandparents knew them from yrs & yrs ago. A nice family. Sad to see them close.

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Flushing Skeptic

Tony Nunziato is a political powerhouse in CB5Q, where the other florist shop is. It will keep thriving because of its proximity to a cemetery, almost a necessity in today’s flower market, I think.

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Richard Vagge

Likely apartment buildings will take their
place
… Question …
Who in their right mind
would want to live
less than 15feet from
the 7 train and the
noise / air pollution
of Roosevelt Ave ?
Richie V
The Rabid Activist
of Jackson Hts

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SuperWittySmitty

Many people live on Roosevelt Avenue and this is nothing new. It may not be the most desirable location but not everyone has a choice sometimes. In many ways, it might even be cleaner and quieter today than in the past.

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rgs nyc

same question i ask myself but if you go to the 39th ave N stop you will see a massive loft type building that just went up! a lot of the apartments just about kiss the train tracks! these are expensive places and with the noise of the N W & Q rumbling by! atomospheric ny i guess! at least they can see if the trains are running!

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Jane

That would be fantastic!
Sounds like you are not originally from Woodside, sunnyside, Jackson heights, etc.
If you have the “L” , that close, your traveling is that much easier. Noise? What noise. When you’ve grown up there, hearing the train, & than you move you miss the sound of the train.

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rgs nyc

hum? lived my whole life in the city under & over the el! two things i i won’t miss are the sound of the el & the banging of the steam pipes in winter if i ever get out of here! love to live in the gardens but so far no winners in lotto! but i’ll keep on trying it’s good to have a plan! maybe i should think about moving under the roller coaster in coney island a la woody allen then i would have something to really write about! ny life! happy city new year!

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bxgrl

Somehow I survived growing up next to the Third Avenue El in the Bronx. Plus, there’s now soundproofing.

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SMH

You can get used to anything, even hanging, said my very wise Grandmother. It doesn’t mean it is good for you. We in Queens are used to the bad air, as people in the Bronx are, we don’t notice, until we develop lung problems. Trains are a terrrible thing to live up against, no matter how convenient or inexpensive the place may be.

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anon

The way 7 train is always going out of service it’s probably pretty quiet nights, weekends and holidays. When the US Open is going on closed windows and sound proofing.

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Anonymous

Well-written. Nice example of journalism that is sadly rare these days. Kudos Nathaly Pesantez.

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SuperWittySmitty

It’s understandable, though. Selling floral arrangements these days is a tough way to make a living. Flowers are cheap and widely obtainable and people don’t buy them the way they used to. I remember when I was a kid, I would buy my Mom a corsage for Mother’s Day.

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