Tall, lanky and thin as a pencil, Antonio “Sunny” Balzano is the beloved owner of Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Dating back to 1850s, the bar passed from his great grandfather to his grandfather to his father to his uncle and then Sunny. After taking over in 1994, Sunny unintentionally transformed the tiny bar into something trendy.
How? He and his friends — artists, musicians — simply hung out at the bar, drinking and having a grand time.
Grand, is one of Sunny’s favorite phrases.
Gentle and sweet, Sunny speaks with an Irish accent (even though he is Italian). “I love it” sounded like “I lurve it.” He attributes his accent to his early days as an aspiring actor and love for theatricality.
RED HOOK, Brooklyn – A year after Hurricane Sandy flooded the area – the water surged and overflowed Van Brunt Street, and went up twenty blocks to Holland Tunnel – local businesses are back. Although many business owners continue to struggle with federal storm assistance and debt, they have fond memories of neighbors, volunteers who pitched in to help.
It wasn’t only what we did. It’s what other people had done to help us accomplish what we had accomplished. — Sunny Balzano, Sunny’s Bar
The community was amazing. — Ben Schneider, Good Fork
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my friends. — Carlos DeSantos, Brooklyn Motorworks
The community was strong, but we are closer now. — Susan Saunders, NYPG
They [volunteers] did in hours what would take us 4, 5 days, or weeks. — Steve Tarpin, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pie
We will celebrate what we did for each other. — Billy Durney, Hometown BBQ