Anthony “Kid Brooklyn” Mealfe
Anthony “Kid Brooklyn” Mealfe, the “Dean of New York State Referees”, was born near Naples, Italy on April 9, 1897. His parents came to the United States when he was five years old and moved to Yonkers when he was twelve years old. He attended Yonkers public schools and left high school to help support six brothers and sisters. In a street fight he impressed spectators with his ability and aggressiveness and when inquiries were made as to his identity the answer was, “He’s the kid from Brooklyn,” thus a nickname that stuck for his entire life, “Kid Brooklyn.”
His adeptness with his fists led him into the ring where he participated in over 50 amateur tournaments throughout the metropolitan area. Realizing he could not compete with the top contenders in his weight class he maintained his love for the sport by serving as a second and a handler for professional fighters and as a trainer for young pugilists. He was a second to Jack Bernstein, a member of the Yonkers Sports hall of Fame, who won the Junior light-weight boxing championship of the world, and handled such headline fighters as Billy Fitzsimmons, Charlie Arthurs, Jack Britton, John Spiak, and Al Tripoli, another member of the Yonkers Sports Hall of Fame.
He never strayed from Yonkers in his search for boxing talent and paraded his young proteges before the public by setting up boxing shows at the Jewish Community Center, St Peter’s Church, St Bartholomew’s Church, the Knights of Columbus and for many veteran organizations. In order to raise funds for these institutions he brought famous boxers, wrestlers, officials and other sports luminaries to these functions.
His love for and knowledge of the boxing game led to his appointment as a referee by the New York State Athletic Commission in 1938. As he is inducted into the Yonkers Sports Hall of Fame at the age of 81, he holds the record as the oldest official and the one with the most years of service in the history of the Commission, 40 years in all. During his career as a state official he served as the third man in the ring and as a Judge in 2400 boxing and wrestling bouts, many involving championships of the world.
His longevity in the sports arena is a tribute to his honesty and dedication and many honors have accrued to him through the years- the “Breakfast of Champions” award, the Monsignor Brown award, the Holy Name Society “Citizen Citation,” and the Jewish Community Center’s “Service Award.” The greats of the boxing and wrestling world have attended these programs honoring the diminutive official, including Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Sugar Ray Robinson, Antonio Rocco, Man Mountain Dean, Jake LaMotta, Rocky Graziano, Barney Ross and Bruno Sammartino.
He served in World War I with distinction and is a member of Post Seven of the American Legion. He was president of the Broadcasters, sports minded organization, for eight terms, and also was a Republican candidate for county supervisor.
At the age of 81 Anthony “Kid Brooklyn” Mealfe continues as a New York State Athletic Commission official and can be seen at Madison Square Garden, and Nassau Coliseum and at the more prestigious sports arenas on the eastern seaboard.