Saturday, November 24, 2012

A wonderful American couple

Clown who died at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade mourned by neighbors

  • Last Updated: 12:55 PM, November 24, 2012
  • Posted: 1:49 AM, November 24, 2012

Riyad Hasan
Robert Blasetti is tended to by emergency workers after collapsing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He was later pronounced dead.
The clown who died performing at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was much more than a goofy guy in a costume, loved ones said yesterday.
Robert Blasetti, 67, was the green thumb of his close-knit Yonkers community, and shared his produce with neighbors.
“He was a wonderful, bighearted Teddy bear,” said Dr. Anna Dolan, a psychiatrist who had employed Blasetti as an office manager for the last 30 years.
BIGHEARTED: Robert Blasetti was performing with his wife, Irene, in the Macy’s parade when he collapsed.
BIGHEARTED: Robert Blasetti was performing with his wife, Irene, in the Macy’s parade when he collapsed.
Dolan said his death, after collapsing on Sixth Avenue at West 39th Street, was a great shock.
“He was a very jolly guy and your typical bighearted New Yorker,” she recalled.
Help arrived in seconds after Blasetti fell as he performed alongside his wife, Irene, 62. But witnesses said there was nothing anyone could do to save him.
“He fell onto his chest,” recalled Daniel Depew, a photographer. “A police officer rushed over, and an EMT jumped the fence — there happened to be an EMT in the crowd.”
The Blasettis, who have no children, looked forward every year to donning clown clothes for the parade. They had volunteered for the festivities for six years, Dolan said.
“He passed away doing something he loved and really enjoyed,” Irene Blasetti told Dolan.
They lived for 22 years on a quiet, tree-lined street across from a park.
“Robert was always outside working on his garden,” neighbor Tatiana Hernandez said.
“The community is close, so we would give each other little gifts,” she said. “My father is a fisherman, so we would give them fish. In return, they would give us fresh tomatoes from their garden.”
Neighbors closed ranks around Irene Blasetti yesterday, and most declined to speak of the tragedy.
“The news really rocked the entire block,” Hernandez said. “It’s sad to see something like this happen to such a wonderful couple.”
Additional reporting by Dana Sauchelli

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