When residents have local shopping they need to do but aren’t able to drive themselves, they can turn to the NST Courtesy Bus.
General Superintendent Steve Cairo said that this amenity has been around for “quite a long time,” at least 20 years.
“It’s a nice thing we offer…,” said Cairo, adding that there are some older residents in the complex who don’t drive any more.
For the last two years, Joe DeNicolo has been the driver of the Courtesy Bus. Prior to that, he had spent 42 years working for the Postal Service.
While working for the post office, DeNicolo used to deliver to someone who worked at North Shore Towers and, has he was approaching retirement, asked the person to let him know about any openings at the Towers. DeNicolo said he was “lucky,” because about two days before he left the post office he found out about the bus driver opening.
“I think I was home one week before I came here,” said DeNicolo, who is certified to drive the bus.
DeNicolo, who is from Queens and now lives on Long Island, said he remembered seeing the Towers built and some residents were customers of his wife’s beauty salon. Other than that, he said was not too familiar with the cooperative previously.
“He’s a nice man,” Cairo said. “That’s why we hired him.”
The bus, which can fit 28 passengers, takes residents to a variety of locations, including Roosevelt Field Mall, Source Mall, and other local shopping locations. Although the bus has set destinations, DeNicolo said that he will accommodate residents as best they can. For instance, if someone needs to go to a doctor’s appointment that is along the route, he will drop them off if possible.
And DeNicolo doesn’t just drive people. He will also help with packages and walking residents in and out of stores if need be.
“He goes above and beyond,” Cairo said. “He really cares about the people.”
Cairo said that they have gotten “all positive” feedback for this service.
DeNicolo said that his favorite part of the job is meeting nice people and added that he is grateful for the opportunity. He also said he thinks the job has made him a better person.
North Shore Towers also has a back-up driver, Scott Rubinson.
The bus operates Monday through Friday, except on certain holidays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Although the amount of people on the runs throughout the day varies, Cairo said the bus is usually 75 percent full.