Day 1328

The former St. Vincent’s Home for Boys

August 19th, 2015

This statue of St. Vincent de Paul (not the first such statue to occupy its perch) stands at the entrance to a branch of HeartShare St. Vincent's Services, a children's services provider. The building was completed in 1906 as the new, larger quarters of St. Vincent's Home for Boys — the predecessor of HeartShare St. Vincent's — which was founded in 1869 as a residence for "friendless and destitute boys". Here's how an 1879 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article described the mission of the home:

Its field of labor is among the boys of the street, the bootblacks and newsboys, and other lads who go to make up the large number of homeless and wretched children and youth who swarm in the thoroughfares of a great city. Some of them are the children of dissolute and wretched parents; others have no knowledge of what home or parent means. The aim is to rescue these children from the ways of poverty and vice, and to help them become self supporting and respectable members of society.
A few years ago, a man named Ed Rohs published a memoir about his upbringing in five different Catholic institutional homes in the New York City area; you can read a partial account of his high school years at St. Vincent's, from 1961 to 1965, here.


  1. Andrew Brady says:

    Memories, I was a Vinnie boy from 1970 through 1977
    Under father Harris and Mr Floyd.
    My sleeping Area called Kennedy dorm.
    Oh well, memories.

    • Angel says:

      How you doing I to was a Vinny boy hung out with Alvarez brothers..victor paz..I was under harris and his henchman Kelly who walk around like he was Hitler..

      had a great time there I don’t even know why I was put there..send me an email

      • Angel says:

        Any Vinnie want to chat about the good old days drop me an email

        • Elliott Merced says:

          This is Elliott Merced also known as sonny I’m a Vinny boy when you was there . I was always up and down with Ricky colon . You can contact me here at 347-641-0002 Ps I’m the one that got hit by the train

      • Christopher Woodring says:

        I knew Teddy and Benny Alvarez and was in the Jamaica group home with them from 1976 to 1979. Were you the Angel who was roommates with Teddy?

  2. Janet Fletcher says:

    I worked at Vinnie’s in the early 1980’s. I remember some of the boys very well. Believe it or not, I still think of them. Larry, Lamont, Vincent. Please send a message if you remember those days.

  3. vinny says:

    i was a res at vinnys from 65 to if i remember right early 70 and learned to harness my bad ways i had good times and bad i could go on and write a book i started not going to school my mom could not handle me i was very bad and wound up in the y.h. from there trans over to c.c. and finally ended up at 66 b pl. after a couple years trans to g.h. in corona queens

  4. E.Santana says:

    I was a resident of vinny’s from 68 to 74. BCW, was helping my mother cope with a terrible neighborhood infected with drugs and she wanted to save me from that life. I had excellent people as Counselors and Mr. Floyd was my first supervisor. I often think about how lucky I was to have such wonderful experiences and to have so many good people care about me. I am currently a special education teacher and I owe a huge thanks to Mr. Henry Floyd. One day In 1983 Mr. Floyd went out of his way to write a character reference letter for me. That letter set me on a path to become a positive person and a productive member of society. With great respect and appreciation, I wish to thank Mr. Pat Lockrant, Mr. Romero Scott, Ed Rohs, and a few others I can’t remember their names. I also want to say thanks to Father Harris for seeing something in me and not giving up on me. I like to send a special thanks to Mr. Floyd, if he’s still around, Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

  5. Frances baugh says:

    I was in st Vincent’s from 63 to 1965. I enjoyed my stays there I was known as Frank and was feminine but kept it secret.. But I ran away from t summer camp they put us in. Then I discovered I wanted t change my gender I became frances in 1973 will always remember st Vincent’s f instilling independence to us growing fractured teenagers

  6. Joseph Miller says:

    i started at saint vincents homecoming from Saint Agnes Home for boys. My coach for basketball, and football, and baseball was Phil the cop, and Don Mingley also a cop and also taught me judo. Graduated there in 1967. I remember the dances at John Hall next door and seeing the jail house every day across the street.

  7. Michael Romer Sr. says:

    Was in Vinnies 1965-1970. Father Mahoney was there before father Harris. Loved summer camp, Camp Christopher and later Camp St. Vincent. Still in touch with some of the guys. Was in Dorm 8, Dorm 6&7 and 3&4. Give me a shout if you’re back from the day!

    • Christopher Woodring says:

      I was placed in St Vincent’s at 66 Boerum Pl in 1976 during Father Harris era. Spent the summer of 1977 at the Pennsylvania camp and was transferred to the Jamaica Hills group home in Sept 1977. I remember the FULL names of some of the boys, but have not been able to make contact with any of them. You are the very first person I have had any conversation with who has also experienced “St Vinnie’s” as we called it. You can reach out to me if you want so we can discuss more about our experiences:

  8. Ann Borys says:

    Hi my name is Ann, I was a mentor for a boy named John in the 1965-66 and would take him out for meat loaf sandwiches at a near by deli and was his mentor kind of contact. We would have lunch together all the time and walk around afterwards. Was one of the best and influential times of my life.

  9. I was A Vinnie boy 1978 to 1980 I remember father Harris and Mr Floyd if you remember me give me a call love to remember stuff

  10. James miller says:

    Was a Vinnie boy in the early 60s. Mike McGinly was the head guy. Horace was the cook. If your out there hi Carlos still say Elvis was better then Roy Obenson. Hi Slattery DVid Robinson n the rest of u guys.

  11. Shanon Shaw says:

    Hello Everyone,
    My name is Shanon and I work at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services in our Development Department. I was so glad to find this thread with so many heartwarming memories shared by St. Vincent’s Services Alumni. I am being supported by Father Harris and two SVS alumni to build a network to help tell the story of our history and engage our alumni.
    If you would like to be part of this project, become engaged in our work, or join our mailing list, please fill out this form
    You may also send me an email at

    I think this could be the start of something amazing.

    Warm Regards,


  12. I was a “Vinnies Boy” from 1956-1958.John McGinnley ran the show ,Tom Hugues was dorm prefect,Monsignor Casey was in charge…Played football in the Pop Warner league went to Boys High, swam on the swim team.Mr O’connor was football coach , we won the league championship that year ,we went undefeated. Ray the blind man ran the corner paper stand, He was always friendly with the boys from the home.Ate at the Horne & Hardart on fulton st.Went to the monthly dances in the gym out back. Lots of memories at camp Christopher by the Deleware water gap…

    • Don Anderson says:

      I was in Vinnies from ‘59-‘61. Ran off in 6/61, worked, joined the Navy 9/61-8/65. Became a CCFD firefighter on 9/77-1/2001. Lucky break that job.Retired now of course & fighting colon & liver cancer. Went to turn 80 in Sept, maybe. I remember John McGinley and his “hey pal”
      That a buddy Gus would iimitate. Mr. Anzalone & later the Irish guys were my counselors
      Ther were2 Kelly counselors, the Black Kelly and z the white one. Both ok. We went to a dance, our guys got jumped
      & 1 guy Raymond Babcock got stabbed.i had left early for the 12 PM curfew. I went to Boys High annex. Was in St. Agnes from 56-59. The homes shaped me. In the Navy I became a Radioman thanks to my education in the homes – I could read & write. I was aRadioman 3rd Class.
      Missed Vietnam due to my Naval service, no draft for me, lol. Jimmy McKinney and Frank Smith were close friends. Ray Irrizarry got me my first job summer of 61instead of camp. I was an independent cus. Worked for the big newspapers as a copy boy & editorial clerk when I got out of the Navy. Rode a Honda motorcycle 20,000 miles around the city, upstate, New England and Montreal. Got married in 71. Son born in
      72. He’s 52, got kids & grandkids. I’m a great grandfather. Was even able to buy my grandaughter a late model used car. She’s 32, 3 kids.
      It’s been a helluva ride, thanks to the homes. Got me off the streets. I’m at 719-648-3353, text me.

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