Yangee Sarlo, 85, mainstay in what became Soho
Frank Sarlo, known to all on Thompson St. as Yangee, died on Jan. 30 at St. Vincents Hospital. He was 85.The cause of death was cancer, according to Chickie Piazza, a friend.
Yangee grew up on Thompson St. between Spring and Prince Sts. when the South Village was a tight-knit Italian neighborhood, and remained a fixture there all his life. Although he never married or had children, his nieces and nephews live on the street and his extended family included almost everyone on the block.
If you left for work or school in the morning, Yangee was out sweeping the sidewalk and would greet you with a pleasant hello, Piazza said. He signed for your mail, kept a watchful eye on your children.
Piazza a member of the Fanelli family that formerly owned Fanellis bar on Prince St. recalled how when her mother became homebound, Yangee walked up three flights of stairs each night to walk her mothers dog. When I expressed concern about him climbing up the stairs, he told me not to mind, because, he said, I love that dog! she said.
Yangee used to have a regular job, but Piazza didnt know what he did. His friends included Dom Black, Young, J.C., Mary, Tessie and Frankie Moe. He was also a friend of the late Tony Dapolito, known as the Mayor of Greenwich Village.
He was part of that whole group who grew up on the same block and lived their lives and never went anywhere, Piazza said. It was the last of a generation. They never went on vacations. They were just happy to live a simple life sitting in the park, watching after people. They took care of people on the block.