WINDSOR TERRACE — Barbara and Mario Belluomo returned to their Brooklyn roots to revisit where they met, fell in love, and got married.
To celebrate their 40th anniversary on Aug. 23, the Staten Island couple took a spontaneous trip and retraced their steps at the various venues from their wedding day.
“Brooklyn, at the time, was our world with discos, restaurants, family, and friends being in a square two-mile radius,” Mario told The Tablet. “Even though Barbara was from Staten Island, she went to Fontbonne Hall Academy, and she would always go back to her old neighborhood.”
“Our whole marriage and life are spur of the moment, so this was just an idea we came up with — it’s who we are,” Mario added. “I think it’s a way for us to stay young and to remember things from when we were younger.”
“He was my first boyfriend. We were young, grew up together, and just did everything together,” Barbara added, noting that they first met at a disco and dated for five years before exchanging vows. “I feel blessed that I’ve had a happy marriage all these years.”
Before his retirement in 2018, Mario was a Kings County Supreme Court officer and professional photographer. He worked at weddings on weekends for Marcy Photo Studios. The studio, which used to be located on New Utrecht Avenue in Bensonhurst, has since shuttered with a defunct hardware store now in its place.
Mario said that taking the “then versus now” shots was a no-brainer, given his passion for photography and because he and Barbara enjoy documenting their life together through pictures.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
The Belluomos drove over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and made their first stop at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge, where their wedding ceremony took place. The church holds a special place in Barbara’s heart because it was also where she was baptized and where her parents got married.
Unsure if the church would be open due to pandemic-related restrictions, the couple planned to take photos on the church’s steps. Since Our Lady of Angels was open to parishioners, the couple also took photos inside, where they once walked down the aisle.
“To us, the church is important,” Mario said. “That’s something that will hopefully always be there because it is such a beautiful church.”
Next, they went to the site of their catering hall in Flatlands, Glen Chateau, around the same time of day their reception took place. However, it’s now an office for the city’s Department of Education within Community School District 22.
“It’s just nice to know that, 40 years ago, the sun was shining down in the same place, and this building was in the same place when we were going up the stairs,” Mario noted. “There’s something about that. It’s commemorative to ourselves and no one else.”
Some Things Never Change
To cap off their anniversary trip, the Belluomos celebrated at one of their favorite Italian restaurants, Michael’s of Brooklyn, in Marine Park.
Though Barbara and Mario noted most of the geographic landmarks and neighborhoods have changed over time, their love and Catholic faith have remained constant.
“I thank God every day because I have a nice life, two wonderful children, and now we have a granddaughter, too,” Barbara said. “Everyday with Mario is an adventure, especially now that we’re both retired. I can’t believe I’ve been married for 40 years, really. It’s gone by fast for us.”
Though their 50th anniversary won’t be for a while, the Belluomos intend to remain spontaneous — not making plans any time soon for how they want to celebrate the milestone and simply taking life, one day at a time, at each other’s side.