8.10.2011

A New Year With Peter's Special Crew

While you can imagine that holidays were great with Peter Steele and the family, we all looked forward to one special day every year - New Year's Day - where Pete would gather his closest 50 to 70 friends, bandmates, their wives/gfs, neighborhood cops, parks department co-workers, roadies, record label executives, accountants, immediate and extended family, even in-laws of his nieces were invited to spend the first day of the New Year together. 

Vintage Shot: The Restaurant has closed
but the building still stands
with a Russian supermarket taking residence there now 


Most years, he picked a landmark restaurant called Lundy's which is located in Sheepshead Bay. It was most noted for its seafood and large seating capacity, but Peter liked the art deco styling and modern furnishing. Peter always remarked that he loved the lighting there, partly because the fixtures were made of blue and white glass, and partly because his mother loved the place so much.

So, even though the place was known for it's dinners, Peter always arranged for a private room off of the parking lot with a Brunch menu which consisted of everything you could imagine to eat, plus desserts and open bar. Every year, we looked forward to seeing the bandmates and friends to catch up, plan out when we'd see them next, what the tours were looking like, who they were playing with. Tour managers would sit with Pete's mom and go over the schedule noting what countries they'd be visiting. We'd see pictures of friend's  kids, and everyone would relax with Peter's extended family as we celebrated the New Year together.


In the background you can see Peter's mother, Nettie.
He is standing with his niece Tara and her children Antonio and Victoria
Taken at Lundy's Restaurant. See the lamps that he loved so much.


Even though he hated the attention, we would lavish him with toys, candy, wine, and fun gifts to celebrate his upcoming birthday. He despised when we'd sing happy birthday - turning bright red from embarrassment and shaking his head pleading us to not do that to him. But he delighted in every toy we bought him like the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots from his cousin Nan to mini musical instruments from one of his sisters to Munster figurines from a gf to a military soldier's hat from the Russian army (from me) to home movies from his Aunt Dolores - he kept them all. We know. We found them when we had to clean out his apt. He saved so many personal gifts.


Pete holding court at Lundy's with some of his friends

As you can tell, he was a generous man who wanted nothing more than to make people feel wanted and loved. If you were important in his life, he invited you to gatherings like this where you would sit with his friends, talk with his family and meet his mom & dad when they were alive. He was following in the footsteps of his parents, aunts and uncles who paved the way for keeping the family together by creating holiday-focused family days.

Quite a man, huh?


16 comments:

  1. This post makes me really sad again… I moved from my hometown 4 years ago and every time when me and my boyfriend visit our families and friends, we’ll have a gathering at my parents home and everyone is welcome.
    It mostly starts with a typically german “Kaffeeklatsch” (coffee klatch) and ends with a great dinner. I am a family man and I love to see my grandmas and other beloved family members.
    This is why I can sympathize with your great loss of Peter. :`( Those New Year’s gatherings will never be the same again...
    He gave you sooo much love but why he wasn’t able to give you this much longer? Life is so unfair and cruel. It makes me angry... My close friend Sylvia said once to me “it's because his soul has chosen this way of life.”. But I can’t be satisfied with this answer. He fought his fights and won. And he was ready for a new chapter of his life... and only one day before it was within his reach it should be over? So tell me WHO let this happen? :(

    Thank you so much for sharing your private moments with us. Please go on, because it a great gift to get to know YOUR brother and uncle Peter. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to digest our great musically and maybe even personal loss. Your blog is incomparable! Thank you so much!
    Alles Liebe, Christine

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this post, although it broke my heart once again realizing how big of a loss his passing was to you and your family. Really to us all in some way or another. I think we all have been touched very deeply by it (otherwise why would we be on this blog). Your gift to us in this is so immense! Each story gives us such a deeper understanding of what he was as a person not just an amazing artist. It will keep his name alive forever, certainly in our hearts! Please know that we shed tears with you and our(my)sincere hope is you achieve something very powerful from sharing these amazing memories. Peace to you and your family always.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A wonderful man. Thank you. Great post as always.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I would expected nothing less. :0)

    ReplyDelete
  5. It became one of my rituals starting (or finishing) the day with reading your latest post. I think I've learned a lot about how important (and rear) it is to have a great family and a bunch of close friends AND to admire the time with them, that is given to us. God... who knows really how long it lasts... Nothing's forever... so enjoy those happy moments to the fullest!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This makes me feel warm & fuzzy inside and at the same time sad. I wish my family was like this. It's nice to see nice loving families and all these cool pictures of Peter and his friends and family. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes--what a man! He seemed like such a humble friend and brother to many people. I enjoy gatherings like that myself--with the family (mine is pretty nontraditional) and those who I choose as my family. Peter was such a unique man; aside from the fact that he made such great music. This post shows that. I want to thank you for sharing this as it really highlights what a great person he was.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi all--

    As mentioned in Christine's post above about "... his soul has chosen this way of life...." There are those who will tell you that when we come into the world we arrive with a road map--we have already chosen the life we want and how we want to live it. Personally, sometimes I agree with this, at other times it's difficult to justify. So when I see somebody like Peter, who is so talented, creative, generous, kind-hearted...I have a hard time understanding why he would want to take a left turn and get mixed up with things like alcohol and drugs and negative people. No doubt he had lessons to learn and only he knew what they were. Hopefully he learned whatever it was he needed to in the short time he was here.
    The more I read these posts from you Darcie (and other family members) I have to admit, I get a little bit envious. Not in a bad way. Our family get-togethers were few and far between, and unless it was a wedding or funeral I honestly don't remember the two sides of my family getting together at the same time. We certainly never had any New Year's Day gatherings like your family had/still has(?). Even now, at Christmas, we do an Open House, and if 20 people show up that's a lot! I don't want anybody to get out the violins--it's not about that. But this post just goes to show you the scope of people Peter reached and how many lives were impacted by him. How can you not like and admire somebody who was so giving of himself and who wanted so much for others around him to be happy and feel wanted? It must have been a privilege, indeed, to have been a part of Peter's life.
    Thanks for another touching story, Darcie.
    Love & Gratitude--Patty P

    ReplyDelete
  9. What can I say..What an incredible, generous, loving man. Such a cool thing to do for his family and friends. I know Peter could kick ass if he needed to but he always seemed to extend his hand of friendship before a clenched fist. So funny, the tour manager sitting with Nettie going over the tour schedule. How many other bands would that happen with...not many. Once again it shows how Peter had the ability to bring people together in friendship. He should have been world leader and sort out all the shit that is going on!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A beautiful Remembrance of times with Peter. He was truly a family man in many ways. It is so nice to read that Peter had such a good relationship with so many that he had to throw these New Years Day parties. He lived a very rich life because of the people close to him. He was truly blessed in that way and he knew it. For someone who makes art out of the word negative, Peter could be a very positive, happy, and fun person. The pictures shared are lovely. I love seeing him proudly tout his little nice around with his big niece. So sweet. Your family loves and misses you so much Peter! We all do! RIP Peter and Thanks again to the family for keeping the blog going. ---Jessica (Black Number 1)

    ReplyDelete
  11. He gave Peter the Great a whole new meaning. Peter seemed (strange thinking of him in the past tense)like he would have made a good husband and father because his own family meant so much to him.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pete was right. Those white & blue lamps are cool! Thanks for finding these photo's!
    Agreeing with Misha. I come from a large, close-knit family and see so much happiness in Pete's eyes in these photo's and understand it well. In a world filled with broken families and broken hearts it can be alienating to come from a big, lovingly weird, close, creative family who opens the doors to the neighbors for a feast. Seems like nobody understands that anymore. It's met with suspicion. Unfortunately I do understand why Pete battled with unhealthy elements. Still struggling to fight off everything meant to work against that togetherness the modern world exposes me to, and sometimes it's very hard.
    In later years Pete had referred to "when I have kids" with a wistful look in his eyes in interviews, and it touches me every time. He genuinely seemed to have grown to be the kind of man who'd've made a very loving husband and father at that point. His passing before having jumped in and taken that opportunity was not just a waste of incredible DNA, it was a waste of his kindness and devotion.
    On another note: You ladies are workin' against my plan to keep making that bikini look good. Maintenance after a certain number of birthdays gets challenging and between weights, bike, dance class, skating and properly proportioned home-cooking I was doing very well. These food-based stories are not helping. Mercy???! :)
    Thanks again for another wonderful peek at some of the moments that made Pete's life so full.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a man - indeed. It is heartwarming to read the story of these gatherings - Nettie sitting with the tour manager - great. These events with family and friends are so important - we should cherish these moments - no one knows how long there is time .. The lamps with white & blue are beautiful & and the pics of Pete with his niece and the children and with his friends are wonderful. Pete looks so proud and peaceful - so good to see. But it is also heartbreaking to know that these events are no longer the same - my heart goes out to you. I do also think that Pete would have been a great father - after all he has been through and with his experiences and with this love for his family - life really isn't fair sometimes. Thank you for this blog & and for all these wonderful memories.
    Much love & respect
    -Sabine-

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow... There are so many words that describes peter's wonderful generosity. My description of peter is he is like that of art..Wonderful in all it's glory. Never ending beauty of mind,body,soul will never fad away cause he will always remain timeless and desired by all who love him. Thank you for sharing this story as well as the wonderful pictures :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Rose from NY now in CA1:55 AM, August 12, 2011

    yes Peter was a real man, a family man. A humble man, generous and kind. His gift to us his music and I play TON every day, I really do. Being from NY I get him, I had a close family like his. You are all so beautiful, I feel like I know you all now with these sweet messages. I love those lamps too. Our family used to gather together for fun too in NY...we used to go out to dinner a lot too. I remember when we lived in Brooklyn we'd take a long walk to 86th street and mom would buy us pizza, italian ices, potato knishes. We'd have a blast. Then we'd all fight for who would hold mom's arm walking back to Brooklyn. I miss NY. With your stories I can go back in time and remember NY like I knew it. You did so many things I did too. My heart is full.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I loved this post, mto thanks for sharing these moments with us, brought joy to my heart! S2

    ReplyDelete