Monday, Jan 27th

Last updateSat, 25 Jan 2020 11am

You are here: Home Content People The Nicest Guy in Scarsdale
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
CNC Nominates Arest, Crandall and Whitestone for Village Trustee

CNC Nominates Arest, Crandall and Whitestone for Village Trustee

Randy Whitestone On January 23, 2020 the Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC) anno...

Lori Gottlieb Talks in Scarsdale

Lori Gottlieb Talks in Scarsdale

Jill Serling with Author Lori Gottlieb She’s the someone everyone wants to talk t...

Basketball: JS Express Leads Scarsdale in Thriller 

Basketball: JS Express Leads Scarsdale in Thriller 

Jayshen Saigal with a stop and pop jumperS Since the new year and the colder weat...

Rick Wilson and Chris Riback: Policy and Politics are Complex Work

Rick Wilson and Chris Riback: Policy and Politics are Complex Work

The following was submitted by Diane Greenwald of Scarsdale:
On Wednesday evening...

Home Sales by Neighborhood - What's Hot?

Home Sales by Neighborhood - What's Hot?

How did sales in Scarsdale’s five school districts compare from 2018 to 2019. Th...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

The Nicest Guy in Scarsdale

poporaApparently I am one of the only people who had never heard of the great Al Porpora of Scarsdale. A couple of people had thrown his name my way as a person who should be recognized as a valuable member of our community and many went so far as to say he should be the recipient of a community service award. So I placed a post on the Scarsdale Moms Facebook Page asking about this Al guy; 80 "likes" and 35 messages later, all applauding his character both professionally and personally, this article was born.

Al Popora is the Co-owner of the Heathcote Gulf Gas Station in the five corners area of Scarsdale and his family has a long history there. He was born and raised in Eastchester. His father and his father's brother opened the gas station in 1948. Al started working there in 1973 while attending Eastchester High School. He spent every free minute he had working there 7 days a week. In fact, he took over management of the gas station when he was only 19 years old. "I could never do what I do without my brother Frank who is my partner," Al said. But Al isn't just a guy who pumps gas and changes oil for a living. He's an integral part of the Scarsdale community living here, working here, raising children here, and now watching grandchildren being raised here.

In the mid 1980s, Al moved to Scarsdale from Eastchester when he met his wife, Jane, who works in the Scarsdale school district. They raised all five of their kids in Fox Meadow and their youngest will graduate from high school this year. "I've been on sports fields, ice rinks, basketball courts, and I even danced in my daughter's ballet." That's a memory that many Scarsdale residents have of Al. One person quirked, "How many dads would volunteer to be in their kid's ballet performance? My dad certainly didn't." Al's daughter, Liz DeRobertis, told me a bit more about his guest appearances as a dancer on stage at her sister Tori's performance. "They needed a dad to take part in the performance so he agreed to do so. He went to all of the rehearsals before going up on stage in front of a whole audience of people who knew him. It was very touching."

Known as "Ally" by his family and friends, he is very well respected in the community. Comments on the Facebook post included: "Such a great guy," "THE BEST!" "Nicest guy in town," "Most sincere gentleman you'll ever meet," "Always looking to help both individuals and the community," "He needs an award," "He's always happy and so nice to my kids," "Most honest guy," "Trustworthy and caring," "Always has a smile and an encouraging comment," "I love him, too," "Amazing," "the best," "really the best," "the absolute best." You get the idea.

Many people commented about Al's positive and Porporahelpful attitude after Super Storm Sandy hit the area. Gas was in short supply but Al made sure everyone in the long line left happy. He tried his best to make thing fair and efficient, and many people noticed and appreciated this. Anne-Marie Kearns said, "During Sandy he managed to keep everyone ticking over with gas for their car and generator and kept a smile on his face even faced with irate customers. He is a legend and a true gentleman." Debbie Wolf agreed, saying, "During Sandy and the resulting power outages, he worked tirelessly to help everyone." Maria Cardillo echoed the sentiment saying, "After Sandy, when he got fuel, he was funning up and down Weaver Street to make sure that everyone in line would at least get some gas!"

When I read these to Al, he listened but then shrugged them off as just doing his job and being a person who appreciates his customers and his community. "It's difficult to refer to my customers as only that," he said, "because they are friends and neighbors as well. I am very lucky to have such a loyal customer base. I appreciate their loyalty and trust and because of that I will go above and beyond to show them that." As far as the community recognizing how hard he worked during and after Super Storm Sandy, he responded, "During trying times, like Sandy, my response to the community need was a natural one for me. I am here for my customers in good times and bad."

Al's daughter, Liz, isn't surprised to hear any of this. "My sister Kathryn and I always feel so lucky and grateful that our mom married Ally," she began. "He started dating our mom when we were in the early grades of elementary school, and has been there for us unwaveringly ever since. He has been part of our everyday lives and while we still call him Ally, not dad, just because we still have a very good relationship with our biological father, we should call him dad because Ally was the everyday dad for us from the time we were very young."

"Our family is a mix up full siblings" Liz continued. "I've got half siblings, adopted siblings, and a full sibling and nobody would every know because we are all so close. I attribute that to the way my mom and Ally raised us. He fit right in with our family. We spent weekends at our house in upstate NY and now that my sister and I both have houses up there, we still go there and spend time together. My sister and I both married men that are similar to Ally and he has a very close relationship with our husbands. My kids call him 'papa gas station' and we love that we can drive by and always find him there. We have Sunday family dinners together regularly and Ally is there for us 24/7. We are very lucky to have him in our lives."

Liz wasn't just born and raised in Scarsdale, she lives here with her family and works here as well as a nutritionist at Scarsdale Medical Group. "This happens to me at work all the time. People somehow realize I'm Ally's daughter and then I start hearing stories like 'he drove me to the bank during a snowstorm' or 'he came to the rescue when my child was locked in the car' or 'he helped me when my husband was sick' or 'he helped me when my teenage daughter had a car accident.' It's so nice to be the daughter of someone who is loved so much by the community." She added, "Ally goes out of his way to care for people in the community as if they were also part of his family. People admire and respect that. Every time I tell someone that Al from the gas station is my dad they know immediately who he is and they say something like 'he's such a great guy.' I am confident enough to know it's true to the point of actually being able to say 'I know!'"

Family and community are of supreme importance to Al. He loves being able to take part in the day to day lives of his children as well as his grandchildren who live in Scarsdale and in White Plains. "I am blessed to be able to interact with men and women that I have known as children, riding in car seats, in the back of their parents' cars, who years later have become parents themselves and moved back to Scarsdale," he said. "It has been a most enjoyable journey."

Do you have anything you want to share about Al? Please do so in the comments section below.

Good Work

SETTING

The Bee is Back on Friday Night January 31

The Bee is Back on Friday Night January 31

Teams have been dusting off their dictionaries in preparation for the upcoming Scarsdale Spelling Bee on Friday, January 31st at 7:30pm. Spectators of...

Read More

Around Town

SETTING

Downtown Revitalization Committee Recommends Improvements to Boniface Circle

Downtown Revitalization Committee Recommends Improvements to Boniface Circle

The Scarsdale Forum Downtown Revitalization Committee has released its latest report, which proposes improvements to Boniface Circle as an important s...

Read More

Neighborhood News

SETTING

Redshirting in Scarsdale: Facts and Opinions

Redshirting in Scarsdale: Facts and Opinions

“I decided when she was in-utero to keep her in preschool for an extra year.” 

“I’m sending him to kindergarten even though he’s not five until No...

Read More

On Our Minds

SETTING

Rebecca Alexander Shares Inspirational Message About Living with Disabilities

Rebecca Alexander Shares Inspirational Message About Living with Disabilities

Imagine being 19 years old, away at college, living a healthy, active life-style and waking up one morning with a deafening ringing in your ears that ...

Read More

On Our Radar

SETTING

Rick Wilson and Chris Riback: Policy and Politics are Complex Work

Rick Wilson and Chris Riback: Policy and Politics are Complex Work

The following was submitted by Diane Greenwald of Scarsdale:
On Wednesday evening January 15, I went to the high school for a well-attended fireside ch...

Read More

Parenting

SETTING

The 2020 Summer Camp and Activities Guide

The 2020 Summer Camp and Activities Guide

One of the many advantages of living in Southern Westchester is the wide range of summer programs available to your children, all within a bus ride fr...

Read More

Village Voices

SETTING

CNC Nominates Arest, Crandall and Whitestone for Village Trustee

CNC Nominates Arest, Crandall and Whitestone for Village Trustee

Randy Whitestone On January 23, 2020 the Citizens Nominating Committee (CNC) announced the candidates it selected for the Scarsdale Citizens’ Non-Parti...

Read More

Shout it Out

SETTING

SHS Senior Wolf Cukier Discovers a Planet and Becomes a Star

SHS Senior Wolf Cukier Discovers a Planet and Becomes a Star

Scarsdale High School Senior Wolf Cukier became an overnight media start this week when news broke that on the third day of his internship at NASA las...

Read More

School News

SETTING

Willy Wonka, Jr. On Stage at Edgewood Elementary School

Willy Wonka, Jr. On Stage at Edgewood Elementary School

The Oompa Loompas in Edgewood School's performance of Willy Wonka, Jr. After more than 30 years without a multi-grade level play, theater returned to E...

Read More

Schools

SETTING

Basketball: JS Express Leads Scarsdale in Thriller 

Basketball: JS Express Leads Scarsdale in Thriller 

Jayshen Saigal with a stop and pop jumperS Since the new year and the colder weather, Scarsdale has looked like a hot new team.  The Raiders looke...

Read More

The Goods

SETTING

Lori Gottlieb Talks in Scarsdale

Lori Gottlieb Talks in Scarsdale

Jill Serling with Author Lori Gottlieb She’s the someone everyone wants to talk to, and many fortunate fans got to do just that at Westchester Reform T...

Read More

Real Estate

SETTING

Home Sales by Neighborhood - What's Hot?

Home Sales by Neighborhood - What's Hot?

How did sales in Scarsdale’s five school districts compare from 2018 to 2019. The data is below – showing that sales in Quaker Ridge increased by 75% ...

Read More

Today's News

SETTING

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

A Short Trip To Italy at La Bocca Ristorante

A Short Trip To Italy at La Bocca Ristorante

On a rather cold and windy day in early January, I visited La Bocca in White Plains. A warm and friendly environment enveloped me as I shed my hat, gl...

Read More

People

SETTING

Health

SETTING

White Plains Hospital Provides ‘Stop the Bleed’ Kits to White Plains School District

White Plains Hospital Provides ‘Stop the Bleed’ Kits to White Plains School District

As a follow up to Stop the Bleed training provided to White Plains School District teachers, staff, and administrators in 2019, White Plains Hospital ...

Read More

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids