For six decades Dominick Magliaro would roam through the Five Towns serving cold treats with a warm smile.
The beloved ice cream man was well known in the community for never turning down children — even if they didn’t have money — and remembering all of their names.
Magliaro, who was just under 5 feet tall and called “Tiny” by the neighborhood kids, died June 21 of congestive heart failure at the age of 93. He continued to sell ice cream until he was 90.
On Thursday, in honor of his service to the community, Maiden Lane — the street in Inwood where Magliaro lived most of his life — was dedicated to him.
“He was the small-framed ice cream man with a huge heart,” said Hempstead Town supervisor Anthony Santino at a ceremony where the street sign was unveiled. “He was a friend to all and never turned a child away, regardless of his or her ability to pay for the ice cream.”
Magliaro started selling ice cream after serving a short time repairing planes in England during World War II, said his nephew, Mike Magliaro, 54, of Massapequa.
He first sold his frozen treats in a cooler from the back of a pickup truck and later bought a truck, on which he’d string large bells that he’d pull as he drove through the neighborhood, Inwood resident Robert Pettit, 50, recalled.
“Whenever we heard the bells we went running and he’d make us chase the truck for fun,” said Pettit, who still lives in the neighborhood and attended Thursday’s presentation. “But he was good to us.”
“Unless there was snow on the ground,” Dominick Magliaro would wake at 5 in the morning to buy the ice cream and sell his wares outside the school or near Inwood Park. He wouldn’t return to his home on Maiden Lane until late in the evening, Mike Magliaro said.
Dominick Magliaro loved his job. He considered retiring about 20 years ago when he moved to Florida but came back after about six months, because he “missed selling ice cream too much,” his nephew said.
In addition to his nephew, Magliaro is survived by three siblings Fran, Gracie and William Magliaro. He is predeceased by a brother, Anthony Magliaro. He never married or had children, but he was honored by some of the neighborhood children he served last year.
The ice cream man was celebrated last year at the 40th reunion for Lawrence’s High School’s Class of 1976, where remarkably, he still remembered many of his former customer’s names, Santino said.
Pettit’s daughter, Sara Pettit, 22, said he even remembered her birthday each year and would present her with her favorite SpongeBob ice cream as a gift.
“He was always there,” Robert Pettit said. “He was a fixture.”
The small group of Magliaro’s family and former customers looked on as Santino pulled a black sleeve off the street sign to reveal the name: Dominick “Tiny” Magliaro Lane.
“It’s hot one today,” Mike Magliaro said after the presentation. “I’m sure he would have loved to have been out here selling his ice cream.”