CINCINNATI -- Part of Elder Street became Buddy LaRosa Way Wednesday afternoon, and the new street's namesake couldn't hold back his tears.
Buddy LaRosa, the beloved local boxer-turned-pizza restaurateur, arrived at City Hall under the impression that the city was asking him to participate in a new community program. Instead, he was greeted by Mayor John Cranley, a street named in his honor and the declaration that April 26 would heretofore be considered Buddy LaRosa Day in Cincinnati.
Buddy LaRosa Way is a short distance from the Golden Gloves Neuman Center, a boxing and after-school tutoring center to which LaRosa's Pizzeria has been a significant donor. It's also near the spot where he took his first-ever job, he told the crowd.
"I sold shopping bags on this corner for three cents when I was 10 years old," LaRosa said. "Now I'm selling pizzas in the same city to the wonderful people of Cincinnati."
The contrast moved the local icon to tears, but he remained humble even on a day now named in his honor.
"I want to give service, and I want to render that at affordable prices and not make a commercial out of it," Buddy LaRosa said. "When I serve others, I serve myself."