Anthony Martire

A family tradition of raising and racing homing pigeons in Coney Island

For Anthony Martire, owner of Larry's Auto Radiator Shop on Neptune Avenue, the pigeon coops on his roof are a family tradition. His father, who was born and raised on 16th Street in Coney Island, began raising and racing homing pigeons in 1947. He talks about how the birds are able to navigate their way home over a distance of 500 miles and about his Hall of Fame win with a pigeon who flew 1,000 miles over three weeks. Coney's Parachute Jump is a landmark for his birds, he says. Martire's favorite bird, Ann Marie, was named after his wife because she would follow him wherever he went on the roof, and is now 15 years old. Martire is a member of Coney Island's Frank Viola Pigeon Homing Pigeon Club, which once had 50 or 60 members and now has less than half that number. "I used to be the youngest, now I'm one of the oldest," he says.