Neighborly Neighbors: Uncle Tony

(Photo by Jason Bisnoff)
(Photo by Jason Bisnoff)

Neighborly Neighbors is a series of posts in which we stop random people, ask them a few random questions, take their picture and posts the results here.

Tony Oquendo
55 years old
Tony, or “Uncle Tony” as he is known to local barflies, was born and raised in Fort Greene. We caught up with him sitting outside of Mo’s Bar, where he works. His job title, as described by his boss: Tony does everything. He was enjoying his favorite drink, cranberry and vodka, during happy hour.

Tony, where are you from?

Born and raised in Fort Greene, live on South Elliot [Street] now.

You work here at Mo’s Bar?

I do everything, mostly deal with supply. I guess I could be called the supply guy. I’ve been working here since it opened two years ago.

What do you like about Fort Greene?

Love it, its changed now, its beautiful. See the thing of it is, Fort Greene, you could call it little Manhattan village in some places. It’s as nice as Manhattan with all the high rise buildings. It’s beautiful now.

You watched it change?

Big time, it was rough. Yellow cabs used to never want to come down to Fort Greene and this area. You would try to hail a yellow cab from Manhattan to come to Fort Greene, no no, that would never happen. Now, you see yellow cabs coming down here all the time for business.

Are you married?

No I’m single, I got a girlfriend but we live separately.

What did you do before working at Mo’s?

I was a school mechanic, for a bus company. Fixing school buses for kids.

Where did you go to school?

In this area, I went to elementary school at P.S. 20, junior high school and high school at 294th and Westinghouse, in that area.

Do you plan on staying in Fort Greene your whole life?

Yea of course, I am going to die here.

What’s your favorite drink?

Vodka and cranberry. That’s all I drink, and Newports are all I smoke. I’m bad though I shouldn’t be smoking I had a triple bypass with 5 stints put in last August, I keep on a nitroglycerin patch at all times. But the doctor said I can have one once in a while and I give the rest to my girl. I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and I am a diabetic. But I might as well enjoy myself I take about 19 pills a day. That’s a lot of pills. They tried to cut it down and I cut it down myself cause it’s just too many. I always take the big ones, ones for my heart, my diabetes, and my blood pressure.

Do you have family in the area?

I have a cousin, an uncle and plenty of family here. We mostly all live in Brooklyn some in Park Slope, which is a really nice area. Most of my family is here, my father stayed around.

What ethnicity is Oquendo?

I am a New York Rican. I am Puerto Rican, but I was born here.