My personal interactions and friendship with Leonora was limited to brief chats on Bedford Avenue as she made her rounds through the neighborhood, although I truly cherished those conversations. Sitting on a bench among the quickly changing storefronts of Williamsburg, Leonora Russo always helped me feel rooted and connected to the neighborhood, despite sometimes feeling like I moved without going anywhere.
She was a stalwart citizen, an accomplished actress, singer, and storyteller. Always dressed up, always smiling, always sharing, Leonora was an inspiration to many. Long Live The Queen.
It is with great sadness that I report that my dear friend, Mrs. Leonora Russo, The Queen of Williamsburg, has died. Leonora lived in Williamsburg for over 60 years and was known for her incredible style and fashion sense as well as being an activist and stalwart supporter of The People’s Firehouse.
Never venturing out of her 3rd floor walk up on North 11th Street without being completely turned out, her glamour and outgoing, friendly personality attracted people to her like moths to a flame. People from around the world came to visit her on Bedford Avenue on her daily walks to do her shopping.
She was photographed and videotaped daily and featured in articles in numerous magazines around the world. A short documentary film about her was featured a few years ago at the Brooklyn Film Festival. She was a natural entertainer, an incredible singer with perfect pitch and could easily be encouraged to give advice or break out into one of her hilarious vaudeville era songs. She always wanted to go to Hollywood, but Hollywood came to her in her later years. God broke the mold when he created Leonora and a few Cadillacs were destroyed as well when she would walk down the street in her younger days.
There will be a memorial service and viewing at Arthur’s Funeral Chapel, 207 Nassau Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11222, on Monday November 21, 2016 from 6-9pm. Please come and help us celebrate the life of this extraordinary woman. The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen of Williamsburg.