Victoroco Nigro
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ALBANY Victoroco (Rocky) Nigro, 94, legendary owner-operator of the Palais Royale bar on Jefferson Street, one of Albany's favorite social gathering establishments, passed away on Wednesday, December 15, 2004 at his home. He was the son of the late Leonardo and Angelina DePacce Nigro and the husband of the late Betty Sherman Nigro who died in 1992. A lifelong resident of Albany and one of the oldest licensed tavern owners in New York State, Rocky was known for his great passion for music and his love for playing the piano. He was also renowned for his liquor decanter collection displayed around the bar and his spellbinding tales of Prohibition days in Old Albany. One of his greatest memories, he said, was shining the shoes of the infamous bootlegger, Legs Diamond. Rocky began his managerial career with his father in several businesses during the Prohibition era that included a grocery store, pool room and a cigar-making operation among others. In 1930, they opened the Palais Royale on lower Jefferson Street and they also ran the Joya Hotel and Restaurant on Madison and Green in the early 1950s. The first Palais Royale was displaced by the construction of the Empire State Plaza in the 1960s but Rocky and his father then moved the tavern to its current 164 Jefferson Street location. His father died in 1966. Rocky's only absence from the Albany area for any extended time was during World War II when he served with the US Army from April 1943 to September 1945, during which time he was stationed in Europe. On July 23, 2000, a special block party celebration was held for Rocky's 90th birthday, when he received numerous proclamations from New York Governor George Pataki, New York State Senator Nancy Lorraine Hoffman and City of Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings. A scholarship fund in music was also established in his name at the College of St. Rose. He was a longtime member of the Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association where he was known as the Biggest Little Man because of his diminutive stature. Rocky served as the association's vice president, sergeant-of-arms and as a member of its board of directors. He was honored in 1996 as Man of the Year for his tireless efforts, dedication and true loyalty in support of the association and its goals. He was also a member of the Bucci McTague American Legion Post. He is survived by his sister, Rose Sacci of East Greenbush. He was predeceased by his two sisters, Margaret Frances and Madeline Simo. He is also survived by four nieces, Angeline Hartwick of Plantation, Fla., Marie Frances of Tampa, Fla., Dolores Frances of Rensselaer, Rita Frances of Hampton Manor. Four nephews, John Frances of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Frank Sacci of Watertown, N.Y., Rocco Sacci of Athens, N.Y and Charles Sacci of Hoboken, N.J. He is also survived by 20 grandnieces and grandnephews; and by his long-time business manager and caregiver, Jean Owens and her daughter and his godchild, Shelly, both of Albany. Funeral services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Daniel Keenan Funeral Home, 490 Delaware Ave. Interment will follow the service in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands.


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Published in Albany Times Union from Dec. 17 to Dec. 18, 2004.
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Memories & Condolences
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16 entries
January 1, 2005
It was my pleasure to take care of Rocky for 3 1/2 years. I will miss him dearly.
Arthur Fox
December 23, 2004
The Palais has always been an Albany institution. I grew up in Albany, and the Palais, with Rocky behind the bar, was a constant, something that I could always count on. I now live overseas for work. Every once in a while I meet someone from or who has been to Albany. Everytime I mention i am from albany, these people mention the Palais as one of the greatest drinking estalishments on the planet. I could not agree more. Rocky will be missed.
Sol Matzner
December 22, 2004
Rocky was the King and the legend of the neighborhood. Rocky had good character and would always be willing to listen to people. The neighborhood will greatly miss the Rock. God Bless.
Brian Hausler
December 20, 2004
I am deeply grieved by hearing of Rocky’s passage, but know that he has lived a wonderful and fulfilling life. Although, I didn’t know Mr. Nigro that well, his charm and dignity gained my utmost respect. I will never forget Rocky, and know that he has touched many lives.
Jason Todd (JT) Swaggart
December 20, 2004
Shell and Jeannie,
I am really sorry for your loss. I know Rocky held a big spot in both of your hearts and he will be missed deeply by a great deal of people..You two have done a great job in the past 2 years that I have seen..I wish the best to both of you getting through this rough time..Love Always
Alta and Ed
Alta Toole
December 20, 2004
I have indelible memories of Albany, The Palais, and Rocky from two brief visits in the early 90's. Crack a can of Dinty Moore and think of Rocky. God Bless.
Michael McLean
December 19, 2004
Rocky will be greatly missed by many. Jean and Shelly, my thoughts are with you both.
Liz King
December 19, 2004
Rocky,
You will be missed.
You were one of a kind.
R.M. Engelhardt
December 17, 2004
I remember many a great time at the Palais Royale.

Rocky, you will be greatly missed.
Myron Getman
December 17, 2004
Shelly i never got to meet Rocky but i feel like i know him from everything you have told me about him over the years, i am very sorry for your loss i know how much he ment to you and how much you will miss him.
Theresa Restifo
December 17, 2004
Rocky was a true Albany institution and a real gentleman. You could always go to the Palais and feel safe there. It was like drinking in your own living room. God bless Rocky and his big heart.
Marjorie Bowes
December 17, 2004
rocky embodied albany in the most charming of ways. he will be greatly missed, but most importantly, i'm glad that i had a chance to know him.
December 17, 2004
Dear Jean and Michele Sorry to hear about Rocky.He was a friend for many years especially with my dad.He will be missed
anna pietrzak
December 17, 2004
Much sympathy to all who were close to Rocky. His passing is a tremendous loss for Albany. This is indeed the end of an era.
Jim Keil
December 17, 2004
Great person who was always nice to me!
Thomas Griesau
December 17, 2004
Rocky was the best the godfather any girl could ever ask for. I will miss him dearly, I really cant imagine my life without him in it. I know he is up in heaven with Aunt Betty,his Parents,Sisters my Nana,Dad & my son. When I was younger Rocky used to take me to king burger(burger king)all the time. Rocky was more than my godfather, he was like my father & my best friend. when I was younger I always wanted to be daddys little girl but I had it better than that because I was always Rockys little girl.I will Love & Miss Rocky so much.
Shelly Owens
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