Frank Thomas Aquilino

Frank Thomas Aquilino
World Trade Center

A Crackling Imagination

If Frank Thomas Aquilino could have invented a 27-hour day, he would have gotten right on it.

Mr. Aquilino — F. T. to most, just F. to the closest dozens — was, like many Cantor Fitzgerald traders, young (26) and whoppingly successful (vice president and partner), a fellow in perpetual motion. What set him apart was that crackling imagination.

The boy who played cards with his sisters on the top of the refrigerator, who "borrowed" wood from construction sites to build multistory tree houses, grew into the man who was building a gambling Web site where visitors could bet on anything from sports to the weather.

That loopy inventiveness would not quit. What next from a short guy from Staten Island who danced tall and confident, who owned a red velvet shirt and black Reeboks, one of which he spray-painted white?

The ideas did more than serve financial gain and good times. As a teenager, Mr. Aquilino's best friend, Anthony Palumbo, had to use a wheelchair. "F., how can I keep my newspaper route?" he asked.

First, Mr. Aquilino tied the delivery bag to the wheelchair. Then he tied a jump-rope to his bicycle, and, with Mr. Palumbo holding onto the rope's other end, Mr. Aquilino pedaled hard, towing his buddy, day after day.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 20, 2002.

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