Letters to Cosmo: Community honors ice cream man

Cosmo Commisso, 98, is a Levittown legend. He emigrated from Italy at 17, served in World War II and later spent about 50 years driving

Cosmo Commisso, 98, is a Levittown legend. He emigrated from Italy at 17, served in World War II and later spent about 50 years driving an ice cream in Levittown. Now people are honoring him.

Cosmo Commisso, 98, is a Levittown legend. He emigrated from Italy at 17, served in World War II and later spent about 50 years driving an ice cream in Levittown. Now people are honoring him. (7/16/15)

LEVITTOWN - For decades, an ice cream truck driver brought countless smiles to children's faces. Now those grown children and others are showing their appreciation.

Cosmo Commisso, 98, is a Levittown legend. He emigrated from Italy at 17, served in World War II and later spent about 50 years driving an ice cream truck on the streets of Levittown.

"We didn't really have a sense of how popular he was, as kids growing up," says Bob Commisso, Cosmo's son. "It was only afterwards, when we'd be walking in a store someplace and a person would come up and say, 'Hi, Coz. Remember me?'"

The senior Commisso started his ice cream route in the 1950s and ended in the early 2000s.

"He was amazing," says former ice cream truck customer Leonora Murray. "He was like a family member."

Commisso's memory is no longer what it once was, according to his son. Commisso's family uses memory books to help him remember.

"It's emotional sometimes," says Bob. "I don't really think he understands the impact that he had -- and he had a great impact on people."

So much so that two people started a Facebook campaign called "Letters to Cosmo." Thank you notes and cards are now pouring in.

More on this topic

Letters to Cosmo

People who want to send or drop off a letter to Cosmo can go to Fitness Hub, 3713 Hempstead Turnpike Levittown, NY, 11756

Fitness Hub in the Capital One Shopping Center on the corner of Wantagh Ave. and Hempstead Turnpike. There will be a drop off mailbox at that location. You can also send you letters to that address.

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