Marco Fiore came to New York looking for his home.
His grandfather came more than 60 years ago, but didn’t stay long.
“He couldn’t find good jobs,” Fiore explained. “He struggled to get by for a few years and then went back to Italy. But he always wanted to return and make it in America.”
His grandfather never made it back and his father never came either. But young Marco put his name on a list and one day he got a letter saying he could come to America.
“It was always my dream,” he said. “My family didn’t want me to go, but I was never scared because I knew this place would feel like home.”
His grandfather told him the stories. He heard about the trains and the bridges and the big ships in New York Harbor and all about the Lower Eastside. And he learned about Joe DiMaggio and the New York Yankees, too.
“I didn’t know anything about baseball,” Fiore admitted. “My grandfather never explained the game, but he would go on and on about the Yankees and it was always: DiMaggio, DiMaggio, DiMaggio.”
Fiore carried all the stories to New York.
“The first thing I did was walk my grandfather’s old neighborhood,” Fiore explained. “The whole thing was mapped in my head: Mott Street and Mulberry Street and Grand Street and Broome Street and Canal Street.
“Then I got on a train and went Yankee Stadium,” Fiore continued. “I couldn’t believe I was really in the same place where my grandfather saw DiMaggio. That’s when I knew I was really home.”
DiMaggio died during Fiore’s first year in New York (1999). The Yankees wore number 5 on their sleeves in his honor and Fiore went to all the games.
“I learned about baseball,” Fiore said. “And now I love it so much. I will always remember my grandfather’s stories about DiMaggio, but for me it’s: Jeter, Jeter, Jeter.”
“Those are my stories.”