Peter Bianco, who loved his wife, his family and his adopted neighborhood, has died at 51

Peter Bianco, who was devoted to his wife and children before all else but who also grew to adore his adopted neighborhood of Tribeca, died at 51 on April 5. The cause was glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that was just diagnosed in August. He fought till the end to live longer than his doctors’ original prediction of two weeks, despite bouts of covid and pneumonia.

Peter was born and raised in Rome and his real name was Pierandrea, but his grandfather, who had a huge influence on his life and who was also obsessed with the United States, nicknamed him Peter — as a way to make it easier to pronounce and remember for Anglos. It was his grandfather who pushed him to come to the States for college, which he did — graduating from Vassar in 1994. And then he stayed, working in finance and getting a graduate degree until returning to Rome in 1999; he had become a bit of a workaholic here and he thought a return to Italy might help him strike a better balance.

And it’s good he did, since it was there that he met a friend’s sister, Michela Santacroce, at a party. The two have been together ever since that night in 2001.

“It was, what can I say, like this crazy love,” Michela recalled this week. “We had 23 years together and that love was our strength, our power.”

When Michela became pregnant, they decided almost on a whim to move to New York to have the baby — to give the child the same opportunities that Peter had for education. Their son Mattia was born in April 2006. The plan then was to stay for a year. Three years later, when their second child was born in 2009 — a girl this time, Mirta — that sealed it. Italy, Michela said, does not have the same opportunities for women. They put down roots.

“Having children here, it’s like a gift that you give to them if they want to use it later in their life,” Michela said.

Peter worked in finance his whole career, including at KPMG and last at PWC. He got his MBA from Columbia in 1999, before his move back to Rome, and back then lived mostly uptown. When Peter came back to the States with Michela, the only person she knew in New York City lived in Tribeca — so they settled on Greenwich Street across from PS 234. The kids went there, then later to Lab and Loyola high schools. The friends they all made in the 234 schoolyard became family.

“I always thought the secret to our marriage was to live alone without family nearby,” Michela said with a laugh. “We were already in love, but we were able to just be alone and build our friendship. But the amazing thing about New York is your friends become your family. My brother came here when Peter was sick and he said, Michela this is amazing — the support that you have.”

“This is such a beautiful neighborhood — it’s just so special,” she added.

Peter loved doing just about any outdoor sport and was a avid skier and sailor. Recently the family found a vacation home on the North Fork, and he got a Laser that he could sail right out of the backyard. As a family, they spent most of their hours together outside, in Washington Market Park and Hudson River Park. Peter also volunteered with Friends of Bogardus Plaza.

In 2021, he became a US citizen, retaining his Italian citizenship as well. But if he had to give up one, it would have been Italy. “He was a very proud American,” Michela said. “That’s why we sacrificed everything and came here for the future of the kids. Italy, it’s a great vacation. It will always be in our hearts. But our life is here.”

The family was on vacation in Italy last August when Peter woke up one morning and couldn’t remember his password for his phone or computer. They went to the hospital and the doctors said he had two weeks to live — and that he should take the next flight back to New York. If he had any chance at all, they said, it was with the doctors there.

Michela spent the next seven months with him 24/7, counting on friends from the neighborhood to help with the kids. He fought hard to stay alive: through three surgeries, regular seizures, covid and finally pneumonia. “That was the hand that dragged him down,” Michela said. The only bright spot in those months was Mattia’s acceptance to Northeastern University, the dream Peter had for his future children when he suggested that the young couple move to New York 18 years ago.

“That was the only beautiful thing we had in this nightmare,” Michela said. “Peter thought this is what was so great about this country — you can work, you can study, you can do anything. That was what he wanted for his children. That was what he believed in.”

The service will be Saturday, April 13, 10a, at the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village, 371 Sixth Avenue at Waverly Place. It will be followed by a gathering at the Academy of St. Joseph next door at 111 Washington Place.



  1. Dear Peter
    My sweet cousin, I still can’t believe how this happened to you.
    You was such a wonderful person, always caring for everyone
    When I was with you, there was no rush, nothing impossible that could be sorted, in the most easy a peaceful way . I can’t remember you angry or upset. Always polite and with your special and beautiful smile . But you either know how to enjoy the sea the mountains the party’s, . And how many times when we were children we couldn’t stop laughing, just for the fun of it.
    I love you , and thanks for all the time spent together
    In your short life you give us so a good energy, and your behaviour and strength will be a guide for your family .

  2. What a lovely piece about a lovely person. Thanks so much.

  3. May he rest with the angels.

  4. In each of our careers, you can usually only count on one hand the truly special people you meet and work with. Peter was one of my closest colleagues. He was so wonderful that the hurt we feel for missing him seems is deep and life seems unfair. We can’t change what has happened but we can please take Peter as an example of a persons that EVERYONE should be like. That will be his timeless legacy – Michaela, Mattia and Mirta be proud that you are his family and carry on his love of you and of life. I will never let my memories of him dim over time.

  5. A beautifully written piece about an even more beautiful family.

  6. Dearest Bro,
    I will never fully comprehend that after 51 years of love, understanding, sibling mischief, insightful talks and lots of fun doing our favorite things….racing each other down the slopes, learning to sail anything that floats, dancing like maniacs every chance we got…you are now elsewhere.
    I hope you are doing an even better version of all that with Dad, Gio’, David and all your friends on the other side.
    I am so proud of how fully you lived your life. Anything you did, you did impeccably (yes, including partying!). You were a loving son, brother, husband and most of all father. You passed on the values that Mom and Dad instilled in us with the utmost grace. You were always the perfect gentleman, always genuinely concerned for anyone in your life, and always generous with your time and many prodigious talents. It was a privilege and an honor to be your sister. Thank you. You are forever etched in the fabric of my life and we will move forward together, as always, no matter where you are.
    I love you, Bro. Sis.

  7. Caro Pierandrea-Peter io ti conoscevo ed apprezzavano fin da quando eri bambino. Abito tuttora dove tu hai vissuto qui a Roma.
    Abbiamo passato bellissime vacanze con tuo papà Mino e mamma Gigliola. La tua dolcissima sorella Valentina è’ una carissima amica e mi dispiace che ancora una volta la vita la fa così duramente soffrire. Spero di abbracciare presto i tuoi figli e famiglia.
    Paolo Piani

  8. A good tribute and history of our belived neighbor. Whst a tragedy for his family and a loss to our community in Tribeca. There are not many people who have the admiration that we have for Peter Bianco. My condolences to his familuy ❤️

  9. Rest in peace, Peter.

    I remember babysitting for them when they first moved into the building. Mirta was just 2.5 years old and Mattia 6. You could feel the love emanate from them, especially between Michaela and Peter. They were the gorgeous, young, intellectual couple that you wanted to BE or just be around ;). My deepest condolences to the family during this hard time. Peter will be remembered as an incredibly generous, kind, caring spirit and his golden memory lives on in his wife and children.

    Sending much love to Michaela, Mirta and Mattia.

  10. I have known Peter since 1992 when we met at Vassar. We bonded over one drunken night wheeling around a shopping cart we found on campus which we later dumped into Sunset Lake. 5 of us drove to Florida for spring break in 1993 and from then on we called ourselves the Florida 5. While most friends who live scattered all over the globe might grow apart, we remained the best of friends, more like family, and the close bond we shared was unbreakable.
    Peter was always one of the most generous, thoughtful and charismatic people I have ever known. He was always up for an adventure and had the ability to talk even the most unadventurous of the group (me) into acts of pure terror. There was the time he talked me into a tandem bungee jump from a crane at a Bahamian nightclub (definitely not the safest place to bungee jump and I knew it), but Peter was still able to get me to do it.
    I will miss his fun-loving spirit, his charm and zest for life. He was a devoted family man who adored his wife and kids and would do anything for them.
    You were taken from us way too soon, Peter. The world is a darker place without you but you will always be with us in spirit and I feel blessed to have been your friend…family, for all these years. Florida 5 forever! I love you.

  11. It was great to meet Michela in the park when we first moved to NY as our son was the same age as Mattia, and I was execting our second. We started talking in Italian and got on so well. I loved introducing my British husband to Peter when we happened to be in the playground together. We had so much fun together. Dinners at each other’s flats, Halloween parties in October, children’s birthdays and every month a mother’s dinner in restaurants. We went to their winter home in Camelback one New Year’s eve to celebrate with them and his parents. We moved back to London nearly 10 years ago. Our friendship is so strong that we have even grown the friendship. With Peter we always had good conversations, and he was always so welcoming, had a ready smile, and was a shining light who will be sorely missed. Love Silvia and Richard.

  12. Peter, my friend, it’s hard to comprehend that we won’t see your bright red jacket and your even brighter smile on the slopes of Camelback. You were no doubt one of the nicest human being I’ve ever met. You will be missed tremendously.

  13. Great article about someone I’m proud to call a good friend. Peter was just great to be around – always so friendly and fully in the moment. So many memories of good times with him, where he always added something extra with his joy and high energy. One of a kind!

  14. I met Peter in college where he, and the boys or rather “the Florida 5” as Jon tells us, were seemingly inseparable hosting smashing evenings and always up to one adventure or another.
    In this crazy world, it is wonderful to see how close they remained through the years. Peter is one of the most charming, generous, kind and fun person I have met (and I’ve met quite a few…) his zest for life was inspiring, his smile was contagious and his laughter even more so.
    Dearest sweetest friend, the years have passed and our lives went in separate directions but our young times together, all of us, will stay with me forever.
    You, Peter, are so loved by so many. Your legacy lives on in your beautiful family and all the lives you touched. Thank you for being part of mine.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to Michaela, Mattia and Mirta as well as the rest of your family and friends who miss you so.

  15. My dear friend,
    It is difficult to summarize a friend of 30+ years in a few lines. Charm, kindness, understated elegance come to mind immediately when thinking of you. Fun, always. As I looked recently at 30 years of pictures of our close group of friends, many from Vassar College, the same faces appear whether the pictures were taken at Vassar, New York city or the many other locations where we met regularly on vacation or attending each other’s milestone events. It is impossible to miss your smile and positive energy bursting out from these pictures. What I will miss most is your infectious enthusiasm. Always ready to try something. Always embracing it wholeheartedly (whether a Palm V, a party theme, a new sport, a new phase in life…). You embraced family life the same way. You came into your own as a family man whose proudest achievement was the beautiful family you leave behind. I will be thinking of you often and hoping you are smiling back.

  16. I met Peter at Vassar College and knew him to be always, fun and kind and spreading positive energy to those around him. It’s incredibly sad that he was taken away so soon. My thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in peace and love Peter.

  17. No words to describe one of the best people I have the pleasure to be in contact with… Peter you will be missed, loved and remembered for the rest of of our lives, you had that touching personality that make you stand above the rest!
    Unfortunately we had to say goodbye and we feel comfort that you are resting in peace, and that you will be in our hearts forever!!
    Natalie and Lou❤️

  18. My deepest condolences to the most joyful and smiling person in our beloved neighbourhood. It’s been always a pleasure to bump into Michi during our usual errands, like a little ray of sunshine brightening up the day!
    I am very sorry for your loss my dear Michi. I will never forget to pray for you and your children, may your great memories keep your hearts warm during this difficult time.

  19. Thank you for posting this beautiful article about our dear friend and neighbor. May his memory be eternal.

  20. Tribeca honored one of its finest today and indeed it is again hallowed ground downtown. Grazie Peter for sharing your life and love so generously. The love you left on earth was enough to quake the earth when you changed and arrived in Heaven. We will never leave your family and friends as your connection with us is eternal. Rest in peace, Peter. Today was as remarkably beautiful as you. Grazie Mille Michela, Mattia, Mirta, your mom, Vally, and all your family and friends gathered together to celebrate your wonderful life and light in our worlds. Love always.
    Mary Beth, Mark, Sebastian, and Sophie