Papa Frenchie

Papa Frenchie is an iron lord. He knows very well the size of his dreams and wears tailor made actions. Puerto Rican by blood, he grew up in Williamsburg where he spent most of his youth as a professional wrestler during the 50’s. After suffering a severe injury, he became a referee for historical competitions at Madison Square Garden.  In the 70’s he established Frenchie’s Gym on Marcy Avenue – a temple to the golden age of Bodybuilding when everybody wanted to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger after Pumping Iron.

With a smell of pumping sweat, the place is filled with old photographs, glorious trophies and loud handwritten signs like  “Hardcore or Out the Door!” / “Pump Up Don’t Shoot Up”. Although tough as nails when he works out, Frenchie’s heart is what really pumps up as he recounts his life and memories.  I never lived Brooklyn in the 70’s but this is exactly how I like to imagine it. With Papa Frenchie larger than life, stronger than ever. Click “Read More” to see the video. 

Written,photographed, filmed, edited and sound by Barbara Anastacio.

One Comment

  1. Chary Mangual
    Posted August 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to feature my father Frenchie! He is an icon in the neighborhood and a force to be reckoned with. I am so proud of him and admire his strength. He gets up everyday and goes to his “second” home – the Gym! He will celebrate his 72nd birthday on August 21st. Please pay him a visit and let him know that he is cared for and loved. Thank you all. Chary Mangual, Newport News, VA

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