Volume 19 Issue 47 | April 6 - 12, 2007


Billy Cozzolino with Frosty, a dog he owned before Clancy, his basset hound.

Cozzolino, 56, Seaport attorney and cop, dies

By Chris Bragg

William Cozzolino, a long-time N.Y.P.D. transit police officer and a well-loved Seaport resident, died at the Cabrini Medical Center hospice on Mon. April 2 at the age of 56.

He died after a short struggle with colon and lung cancer, said his wife of 18 years, Linda Cozzolino.

Known as “Billy,” Cozzolino was respected among his N.Y.P.D. colleagues as a strong advocate for fellow officers, elected by his peers to be a union delegate on their behalf. “He was not afraid to attack supervisors if he thought they were doing something wrong,” said Robert Zink, a fellow officer who worked with him at Transit District 1 in Lower Manhattan. “He was so smart, he was hard to combat.”

Fittingly, after a 23-year career in the N.Y.P.D., Cozzolino became an attorney, serving injured workers as a workers’ compensation lawyer. “There was no more stand-up guy that you’re ever going to meet than Billy Cozzolino,” said Jim Abrams, who worked as an attorney with Cozzolino.

While friends described Cozzolino as “fierce and tough” professionally, they also said he was gentle in his personal life, maintaining an eclectic group of friends outside the force. He was known for a vast collection of baseball hats, one of which he was almost always wearing — even at formal events at which he was otherwise dressed in suit and tie. “Even in his hospital bed he wanted his hat on,” said Amanda Zink, the owner of a local pet spa, The Salty Paw. Zink said Cozzolino was well known in the pet community and could often be found at the Fishbridge dog run with his basset hound, Clancy. 

He and his wife traveled the world, from Costa Rica to Ireland. They spent all of last summer, even before they knew of his illness, relaxing on the Jersey shore, where they own a home. “We had a good life together,” Linda Cozzolino said. “He lived a full life.”

Born on Nov. 7, 1950, Cozzolino grew up in Queens. He graduated from Empire State College and in 2000 he earned his law degree in Tribeca at New York Law School. He moved Downtown in 1993 and lived most recently on Pearl St.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, Virginia; brothers Christopher and Jude; and his sister, Diane Varisco.

A wake will be held on Thurs. from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Vanella’s Funeral Home, 29 Madison St. Memorial services will be held on Friday at St. James Church, 23 Oliver St., at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made out to either the N.Y.C. Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Widows’ and Children’s Fund, 40 Fulton St., 17th Floor, New York, N.Y., 10038, Attn. Teresa Ashton, or Cabrini Hospice, 227 E. 19th St., New York, N.Y., 10003.

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