Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 17 February 2012 00:00
Football season may be officially over but that did not stop New York Giants captain and Super Bowl XLVI champion Justin Tuck from indulging in the team’s traditional pizza Friday during a visit to Umberto’s Pizzeria & Restaurant of New Hyde Park on Friday, Feb. 9.
As packs of fans gathered to catch a glimpse of their hero outside the popular neighborhood restaurant, inside Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and other county officials presented Tuck with the keys to the county and a citation for his work promoting children’s literacy through his R.U.S.H. for Literacy foundation.
An excited Mangano thanked Nassau County football fans for their enthusiasm and emphasized the positive economic impact the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win had on the local economy. He equally praised Tuck’s accomplishments on and off the football field. “He is a charitable man, he gives back,” Mangano said. “It’s such a breath of fresh air when you see someone succeed and they pause to give back to those who would otherwise not have opportunity. He really is a symbol of the American dream,” Mangano added.“We collectively gather here to recognize and honor Justin Tuck for his achievements and it was spectacular. He had some spectacular plays in this Super Bowl and he is a spectacular man... It gives me great pleasure as county executive to present to you, Justin Tuck, a key to the county of Nassau,” said County Executive Mangano.
Tuck, who founded his literacy foundation with his wife, Lauran in 2008, spoke to a large crowd of faithful Long Island fans and thanked them for their support. “It’s very humbling to be in this position,” Tuck said. “From everyone involved in the Giants personnel, our players, coaches, I would like to say thank you for your love and support. I know we don’t make it easy on you guys. It’s one of those great feelings you can’t put words to,” he said of his Super Bowl XLVI win.
Umberto’s has been a landmark restaurant in New Hyde Park since it first opened its doors in 1965. The Giants’ pizza Friday tradition began four years ago during the team’s run to the Super Bowl XLII. Rich “Big Daddy” Salgado, the founder and CEO of Coastal Advisors LLC, which provides insurance to pro athletes, continues to deliver the pizza every Friday to the Giants and even shipped 15 pies to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.
A family business, Umberto Corteo and his son, General Manager Gaetano Corteo, thanked Salgado for introducing their pizza to the Giants. “It was such a great honor for them to say ‘wow, this pizza is so great’ and think about how many years my father, Umberto and my uncle, worked so hard and what they built here at Umberto’s. It’s very special to me and my whole family,” he said.
In honor of Tuck’s visit, Umberto’s presented him with a $10,000 donation to his R.U.S.H. for Literacy charity. “Thank you, Umberto, for your continued support, whether that be a donation to my charity or the great pizza that you donate to us every Friday. It’s something that a lot people do not have the heart to do. I am glad that I can call you a friend and I’m glad that I can say my favorite pizza place is Umberto’s,” Tuck said.
Tuck ended his visit behind the counter to learn the art of pizza making with none other than Umberto himself. “I didn’t think this pizza story would’ve gotten the play it has. The pizza is so good that all the veteran guys make the rookie guys wait until we finish grabbing everything we want,” Tuck said.