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CaVaLa Park to Be Renamed for Albert Capsouto, Dead TriBeCa Activist

By Julie Shapiro | August 5, 2010 1:21pm

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

TRIBECA — CaVaLa Park will soon become Albert Capsouto Park, in memory of the TriBeCa restaurateur and community activist who died of a brain tumor in January at the age of 53.

The park, named for its location at the intersection of Canal, Varick and Laight streets, just opened last summer, several months before Capsouto was diagnosed.

Jacques Capsouto, Albert’s brother, said the park renaming would recognize all the work Albert Capsouto did for the neighborhood and ensure that he was not forgotten.

“He wasn’t looking for any reward,” Jacques Capsouto said. “He just did it from the bottom of his heart, because someone had to do it.”

Perhaps best known as a co-owner of the Capsouto Frères bistro on Washington Street, Albert Capsouto was also a tireless advocate for small businesses after 9/11 and a longtime member of Community Board 1.

Since his death, local residents and elected officials have found several ways to commemorate Albert, including a Stuyvesant High School scholarship.

But Jacques said he was particularly happy that his brother would now be permanently memorialized in the park, not far from Capsouto Frères.

Parks Department officials initially appeared reluctant to rename the park, but Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro agreed to the change this Wednesday, said Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1.

The city will hold a dedication ceremony in September, Menin said.

“It’s a wonderful tribute to Albert,” she said. “There’s a sense of renewal that a park presents — it’s a great way to commemorate him.”