Rosario Cassata talks about meeting and marrying Carolyn.
It started with a simple text on Match.com in September 2011. We had each joined the dating site a few weeks earlier. When I saw her picture, I was immediately mesmerized by her stunning eyes.
My goal was to meet for coffee and a chat, but each of us always had a conflict. She was taking her daughter to college in Miami and would be away for a week. Then another daughter’s tonsils flared up. Then I was away. Nearing the point of complete failure, a glimmer of hope appeared in a text: "pick a day mon thru thurs??” Hmmm, not a Friday or Saturday, I thought. We had our first date on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and have been together every single day since. During that evening at Ciao Baby in Massapequa, we kept discovering coincidences between us.
Carolyn’s son and my daughter had dated briefly the previous year. Our fathers had businesses in Deer Park directly next to each other and were friends. And my three kids already knew Carolyn’s three kids. We instantly became a couple.
Carolyn had a tradition of taking her kids to Aruba every Christmas for a week. She invited me but to come along, but I said I couldn’t swing it. Meanwhile, I was actually planning to surprise her. When I arrived, I asked the front desk to call and say there was a flower delivery for her. She came to the lobby a muddy beautiful mess because she had been quadding all day with her kids. It was a wonderful surprise that worked beautifully.
Since I was a kid growing up in Patchogue, I’ve been a devoted 1966 "Batman" fan. I watched the TV show every day after school. It has become lifelong obsession that has turned into an extensive collection of Batman memorabilia.
After nearly four years together, Carolyn and I were engaged in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, and were married June 28, 2015. Naturally, our wedding was a Batman and Catwoman theme — and Carolyn was completely on board. The reception was at the Bourne Mansion in Oakdale. In less than three months I carefully transformed it into the stately Wayne Manor, complete with Batmobile, Bat helicopter, Bat motorcycle, Bat cake, Bat props and Batman fireworks.
Joining us that day were Robin, The Joker, The Penguin and many Long Island dignitaries. The guests were treated to a Batman parody with a call from Commissioner Gordon. And at one point, Carolyn and I, dressed in full Batman and Catwoman regalia, danced the “Batusi.” Our guests loved every minute of the day, as did we. People still talk about it. (We invited Adam West, who portrayed Batman in the original TV series, but he couldn’t attend because of declining health and instead autographed our invitation and gave us Batman memorabilia for our big day.)
After we were married, Carolyn and I bought a 1937 Georgian Mansion in West Hills that happens to look very much like Wayne Manor.
I operate several real estate companies and run The Cassata Foundation, a family-owned charitable nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that donates to many causes, including schools, charities and individuals, throughout the year. Carolyn works at her family’s company, Rodelco Electronics in Ronkonkoma.
It an amazing feeling to be in love with such a beautiful woman who is also my best friend. Our blended family now includes five grandchildren. We consider ourselves blessed.
Though we have been married only five years, Carolyn says it feels like it’s been a great 20 years together. We are still trying to plan a honeymoon trip to Italy and the Amalfi Coast, in particular.
— With Ann Donahue-Smukler
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