John Mattera still lives in the South Beach house he grew up in. He is a pharmacist at Arrochar Pharmacy, 121 McClean Ave., which he also owns. He’s been working at the pharmacy since he was 15 when a well-loved neighborhood resident, Gigi (short for Luigi), owned it. He ended up attending pharmacy school and six months after he graduated, Gigi passed away. He bought the store after that, at the age of 21 and has owned it since.
What is the best thing about South Beach?
The best thing is the hometown feel, knowing that this is where I grew up and I have a lot of family and friends here. As a pharmacist here, sometimes it’s like you’re a friend to the people, and being here that long, I hope that I’ve been helping the community and making people’s lives a little better.
What do you like to do for leisure here?
The beach is what makes it nice. It’s relaxing. I go down there in the colder weather when it’s a little desolate. To me it’s a nice thing.
Do you think South Beach is underrated?
I don’t think so. A lot of neighborhoods in Staten Island have their thing, but South Beach for many years had the rides, which people from all over the island used to come to. Now we have a "Back to the Beach" festival and people from all over the island come down for that. We have South Fin Grill and other restaurants. People know what’s here.