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.