PAUL MARINGELLI

“When you have it you don’t want it, when you don’t have it, you want it.”

I was introduced to Paul Maringelli one recent morning at the Aubergine Café on Skillman Avenue by his friend, John Millus, a.k.a The Mayor of Skillman Avenue. A graphic artist, Paul used to work as an art director for Penthouse magazine and as a cartoonist for Harvey Comics, but over the last years his career has slowed down. He now designs and lays out the pages of the Ridgewood Times.“I have a four-day weekend, instead of a two-day weekend,” the 59-year-old says about his part-time job. “When you have it you don’t want it, when you don’t have it, you want it.”

In his spare time, Paul visits friends, hangs out with “the usual suspects” on the block, paints, plays the drums and listens to Jazz.

When the jazz enthusiast heard that jazz legend Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke lived and died in Sunnyside, he began to research Beiderbecke’s last address. To Paul’s surprise it happened to be right across the street from his home.

“Beiderbecke moved into Sunnyside and died,” Paul says, laughing. Despite Bix’s short Sunnyside stint, Paul encouraged community leaders to put up a commemoration plaque. In 2000, he started organizing the Bix Beiderbecke Jazz Concert. Last year the concert counted 14 jazz musicians, some of them quite renowned. It will have its tenth anniversary on August 7th 2010, and, for the second time, take place under the Sunnyside Arch.

Dressed in a shiny black leather coat and a leopard scarf, Paul walked me to Bix’s plaque on 46th Street. On the way he showed me the advertisement column on Skillman Avenue and 47th Street, which he painted after the events of 9/11.

In the podcast Paul talks about his search for Bix’s last address and Sunnyside’s jazz-infused past.

Listen to Paul’s interview