MANHATTAN — Former FDNY Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta was remembered as a leader, reformer and “Renaissance man” during a memorial service Wednesday at a city child protective services center named in his honor.
“Nicholas Scoppetta was a New Yorker through and through,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the private service at the Administration for Children's Services Nicholas Scoppetta Children's Center in Lower Manhattan, noting his half-century of public service. “He left an imprint we can feel to this day.”
Scoppetta died last week of cancer at age 83.
During his life, Scoppetta’s many accomplishments included reforming the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and intensifying its focus on helping abused and neglected children, said de Blasio, who referred to him as a "Renaissance man."
“He set in motion a culture of caring,” the mayor said.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called Scoppetta "a true prince of the city," credited him with rebuilding a fire department reeling from the devastating loss of 343 firefighters in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
“It was not a job for a mere mortal,” Bloomberg said.
The former mayor recalled that when Scoppetta was appointed fire commissioner on New Year’s Day 2002 he voiced concern about having no experience as a firefighter.
“Don’t worry about that,” Bloomberg recalled saying at the time, “I have no experience as mayor.”
Scoppetta served as fire commissioner until 2010.
Scoppetta had a long career in public service. He was appointed Commissioner of Investigation for the city in 1972 by Mayor John Lindsay and served as a deputy mayor for two years under Mayor Abraham Beame.
Scoppetta worked as an assistant District Attorney from 1962 to 1969, when he became a federal prosecutor.
In 1971, he served as associate counsel to the Knapp Commission, which investigated corruption in the New York City Police Department.
Firefighters, former co-workers and some members of the public gathered outside the Scoppetta Center to pay their respects, listening to a live audio feed outside.
The Scoppetta Center is a city intake center for children on First Avenue in Kips Bay.