Borough President Vito Fossella reunited Joey DeRobertis and Mary Ansbro in a small gathering in his office after their chance meeting on crowded subway car headed to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade led to a heartwarming serenade.
“What we saw last week between these two young wonderful people, it was a beautiful moment that brought joy to a lot of people,” said Borough President Fossella. “Most importantly to the families, we say thank you for giving us these two young, beautiful people. It is a reminder of how much in life is love and unity that conquers everything -- and of all places, on the subway.”
Joey was singing while taking the R train to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade with his friends. Mary, a student at the Hungerford R. Hungerford School, who was on the train with her family, requested he sing a song with her name in it. Joey, a 2022 graduate of St. Peter’s Boys High School, was happy to oblige and had the perfect song at the ready: “The Wanderer” by Dion.
Passengers on the subway car joined in the singsong with the line, “Oh well, there's Flo on my left arm and there's Mary on my right.” At the end of the song, Mary gave Joey a big hug.
Borough President Fossella was so moved by the touching scene that he invited the duo into Borough Hall.
He put Joey on the spot and asked him for a reprise. Without hesitation, Joey launched into “The Wanderer” as Mary sat behind Vito’s desk. Borough President Fossella said the act of kindness “hit home” on Staten Island.
“It’s representative of and reflected in what we like to think our community is all about -- being there for each other, making someone smile, making someone laugh,” said Borough President Fossella. “Joey, you did that last week for Mary, and we wanted to take this moment on behalf of the half-a-million people here, and I am sure beyond Staten Island to thank you. Sometimes, we give a certificate of appreciation, but because this is a song-based, we’re going to give you a note of appreciation.”
To Joey and Mary, we thank you for making us all smile.