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Muttontown couple picks family to 'adopt' 10-foot Frosty the Snowman

Robert Spagnuolo of Plainview, left, and his relatives

Robert Spagnuolo of Plainview, left, and his relatives tried unsuccessfully to fit Frosty the Snowman into a Dodge Sprinter in Muttontown on Friday, June 13, 2014. Credit: Joseph Kellard

A Muttontown couple has extended the season of goodwill into June.  

Richard and Mary Manfredi donated their 10-foot fiberglass Frosty the Snowman figure to Robert Spagnuolo, of Plainview, after Newsday ran a story May 31 about their search for someone to “adopt” the Christmas lawn ornament.

Spagnuolo was among 68 people who emailed the Manfredis to make their claim why they would give Frosty a good home. After reviewing all the emails, the Manfredis chose Spagnuolo, who contacted them immediately and showed up at their home the next day to take measurements and photos of Frosty.

“We always felt that it was part of our family, and we would like it to be taken care of by another family,” Richard Manfredi said of Frosty, which he bought at a charitable auction at Manhattan’s 69th Regiment Armory in 1978, after it appeared on a float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. “It’s not a living thing, but to us it was. It was part of our family.”

Frosty will be the latest addition to Spagnuolo’s elaborate outdoor Christmas ornament display at his Jamaica Avenue home, which includes a life-sized nativity and penguins and bears skating on a mirrored ice rink.

“This is about as big as it’s going to get,” Spagnuolo said of his Christmas display with Frosty’s presence.

Although Frosty was a little shorter than the 12 feet Manfredi had initially estimated, on Friday Spagnuolo was still unable to fit the ornament into the back of a Dodge Sprinter outside the Manfredis’ home. He was expected to return Saturday in a pickup truck to haul the figure home. To protect Frosty, which sports several cracks, he will build a frame around it and cover it in shrink wrap.

Frosty will also be part of Spagnuolo’s new charitable cause. In February, Spagnuolo and his family took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean at the Long Beach Polar Bears Splash, held every Super Bowl Sunday as a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation. During Christmas season, Spagnuolo will put a donation box outside his decorated home for visitors to contribute money toward granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.  

“My whole family went to the Polar Bear Splash and we had a great time,” he said. “And Make-A-Wish is a great organization that’s letting kids live out their dreams.”

The Manfredis brought Frosty to their home in Orient in 1978, and the
next year they moved to their 17-room home in Muttontown, displaying it on their lawn for their three children and neighborhood kids to enjoy. Frosty was part of a display that included Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and two mechanical children on sleds.

The couple is now moving to a six-room home in Southold, and won’t have enough room to store Frosty.

After choosing Spagnuolo to adopt Frosty, the Manfredis sent an email to all their respondents to spread goodwill. “We wish everyone the best life has to offer,” the email reads. “And hope that you too find a ‘Frosty’ to fill a warm place in your heart.”

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