Mr. Rollino at a party in Brooklyn for his 103rd birthday. He was one of the last links to the old Coney Island strongmen.
This post is dedicated to my recent guest “Hammer”. Not all of the wisdom of the world can be found in a single book or in the Masai tribe….
Mr. Rollino stayed away from meat. And cigarettes. And alcohol. He said he walked five miles every morning, rain or shine
On Monday morning, Mr. Rollino went for a walk in his Brooklyn neighborhood, a daily routine. It was part of the Great Joe Rollino’s greatest feat, a display of physical dexterity and stamina so subtle that it revealed itself only if you happened to ask him his date of birth: March 19, 1905. He was 104 years old and counting.
A few minutes before 7 a.m., as Mr. Rollino was crossing Bay Ridge Parkway at 13th Avenue, a 1999 Ford Windstar minivan struck him. The police said he suffered fractures to his pelvis, chest, ribs and face, as well as head trauma. Unconscious, he was taken to Lutheran Medical Center, where he later died.
“Pound for pound, in the feats that he practiced, he was one of the greatest performing strongmen we’ve ever had, if the lifts he’s credited with are accurate,” said Terry Todd, a co-director of the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at the University of Texas, who knew Mr. Rollino for more than four decades. “He certainly wasn’t one of the strongest all-time strongmen, because of his size.
Old photographs of Mr. Rollino are displayed in several neighborhood shops. People called him Puggy. “If he shook your hand, he’d break it,” said James Romeo, owner of Romeo Brothers Meats and Foods on 15th Avenue. “He wasn’t feeble.”
Charles Denson, a historian and the author of “Coney Island: Lost and Found,” first met Mr. Rollino at his 103rd birthday party at a neighborhood restaurant. “He was one of the last links to the old strongman days of Coney Island,” he said. “Coney Island was the training ground for strongmen. He was one of the best.”
- None Found