Donald Robert Passantino was born on March 22, 1948 at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in Manhattan. Don, as he likes to be called, is the son of Robert and Myrtle Passantino. His Mom is now deceased. He has four brothers: Larry, Paul, Phil, and Roy. One year after Don was born, his family moved to Queens, and he has been a resident of Middle Village ever since. He attended P.S. 49, and from there he was admitted to the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, from which he graduated in 1964. For 1963 and 64 at Stuyvesant, he was a photographer for “Indicator,” the school’s yearbook. He also belonged to the Physic’s club. He attended Manhattan Community College, and in 1970 graduated from City College, City University of New York, with a baccalaureate degree in economics. At CCNY, he belonged to Phi Theta Kappa. During his college years, he also developed expertise in working with equipment and sound systems at the college’s radio station.
Like many young persons, Don held a variety of part-time jobs during his school years. He fondly remembers time spent at his uncle’s print shop, Passantino’s Printing Shop on West 49th Street in Manhattan. During the Vietnam war, he also worked as a retail clerk for Asiatic Petroleum at Rockefeller Center. For the past 25 years, he has been employed by UNISYS, a worldwide computer company. His job is to “service and fix the check-sorting machines” for banks and other financial institutions.
In 1986, Don “wandered into a meeting” of Juniper Park Civic Association. He offered to “fix” the sound system and has been in charge of audio equipment system ever since. He believes that in order to get a good crowd at a meeting, one needs to have a good sound system where every person in attendance can hear every word.” In 1996, he was installed as Sergeant at Arms of JPCA. He has been an active member of Community Board 5 for about nine years, where he also oversees the sound system. He belongs to the New York Cycle Club and frequently rides his bicycle 50 to 70 miles a day, participating in a variety of tours throughout the country. He is also a member of “Transportation Alternatives,” a group which lobbies for bicycle lanes and for safer access for pedestrians and cyclists in NYC.
Don rides his bicycle to most meetings of JPCA and Community Board 5. He has a special interest in collecting and restoring vacuum tube radio and sound systems. His home is adorned with a magnificent array of antique radios and sound systems, which he has expertly restored. The rich tones emitted by these radios are unsurpassed by any modern day transistor system. Don urges us “to be nice to people because sure enough we might meet them latter” on our journey.