Goodbye, John

John Loscalzo—a.k.a Homer Fink, the King of Brooklyn Heights, the CEO of the Brooklyn Heights Blog—passed away yesterday.

John started the blog in 2006 when he was new to the neighborhood—he brought a reporter’s integrity to the site along with a devilish wit and insatiable curiosity about both the beautiful and the quirky of Brooklyn Heights. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the spirit of this neighborhood will be so much different without him.

At the time of his passing, John was the Director of Music for CBS Local, and had previously worked for MTV and radio stations like WNYU and K-Rock.

John leaves behind the two loves of his life—his wife, Tracy Zamot, and their daughter, Gracie. He also leaves behind a million friends and fans who will miss his goofy camera grin; his brilliant ideas; his encyclopedic knowledge of music; and the Homer Fink Hidden Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour.

It’s not like me to be at a loss for words, but this is all I can really say right now. Please share your thoughts and remembrances below, and I will post additional information when I hear.

Share this Story:


  • miriamcb

    So saddened to read this. I don’t have many words past that. Thinking of Tracy and Gracie – if you guys need anything, I’m home with my daughter during the day and would be happy to help out.

  • Jorale-man

    What incredibly sad news. I can’t begin to express how important the BHB has become to the neighborhood and it was through his tireless dedication and hard work. And I know the blog was only one part of his impact on the Heights. My condolences to his family.

  • Mark on Middagh

    So saddened to hear of the passing of the beautiful, creative and vital friend and neighbor we have all come to love. John definitely touched Brooklyn Heights in a way that no one else ever has – and likely never will again – – not in the same way. Dearest and most heartfelt sympathy to Tracy and Gracie.

  • TeddyNYC

    I’m in shock. This sad news reminds me of what happened to WABC reporter Lisa Colagrossi a couple of weeks ago, another young person working for local media who died suddenly. I never had the chance to meet him, but I felt like I knew him and his family a little through this blog which I’ve read pretty faithfully since 2006. My most sincere condolences to his wife and young daughter. It’s a terrible loss.

  • Steve Levin

    So heartbroken and in shock to hear of John’s passing. I always enjoyed our discussions of politics, education, and the BH community. He was always decent and kind to me and my staff and my thoughts and prayers go out to Tracy, Gracie, and their family.

  • T.K. Small

    I just learned of this sad news and am beyond shocked. Although I have not contributed much lately, John and this blog helped me to find my voice as a writer and advocate. He was always encouraging and supportive of my various causes. I miss him already. Love and prayers to Tracy and Gracie. RIP John.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I am so, so sorry to hear this.

  • Val

    Devastating news. John was an wonderful man, and will be missed. Condolences to his wife and daughter. I’m stunned. So, so sorry to hear this.

  • Roberto Gautier

    I check the pulse of my neighborhood daily by reading and mulling over posts on the Brooklyn Heights Blog. Homer Fink did a great job to create a valuable institution. He proved that investment in the community is best measured in personal involvement and passion. For too many, extracting money from the area is the sole way to judge success. Homer saw that community institutions are much more than amenities. My condolences to John’s family and hordes of friends.

  • Lillian Ann Slugocki

    Very sad to hear! A good man, a great editor and webmaster, I loved writing for BHB. Love and peace to his wife and daughter.

  • PubliusBklyn

    John and I chatted on the streets of Brooklyn Heights just recently about fatherhood, and the love for his family was evident. A sweet man, profoundly decent, fun loving, caring for his own and the broader community. Such a loss for all, but especially for Tracy and Gracie. My most sincere condolences to John’s family and friends at this terrible tragedy.

  • bri331

    here is something I shared with our colleges at CBS Local: It’s hard to be at work today. Yesterday, we unexpectedly said goodbye to my friend and boss of three years at CBS Local/, John Loscalzo. I first worked for John in the ‘90s. I had been working for a trade publication called “F” that was sinking fast. John’s wife Tracy Zamot had pitched me an interview with Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest, promoting a solo album. Of course I wanted to do it, he was in Judas Priest! But I knew it wouldn’t make print, because F was about to go under, and I didn’t want to waste her time, and Mr. Tipton’s time (as much as I wanted to do that interview). So I just told her the deal and that was that.

    The next day, I get a call from John Loscalzo, and he basically offers me a job interviewing classic rock artists for some company called SW Radio Networks. I was just kind of stunned at my good fortune. I went to his office and he offered me a significant amount more money than I was making at F. It was way more than he needed to offer to get me to take the job. I was probably about to be unemployed! But the way he spoke to me, I didn’t feel like I was about to be unemployed, I felt valuable. He’s always had a kind of Danny Ocean of Ocean’s 11 vibe when it comes to putting together a team. The way he was talking, I felt like he was a mob boss steaming me from another crew. That made a bit more sense a few weeks later when I was in his office and noticed a book called “Mafia Techniques as Applied to Modern Business.” What did I just get myself into, I wondered.

    I soon found out, and would quickly learn to fear the term “He’s dead to me.” I heard it a few times. If you know him, you know what I mean. Thankfully, he never said it to me! But the thing was, someone could be “dead” to him, and it might get ugly. But I’ve also seen him palling around with someone he previously had a beef with. In fact, just this morning I was on the phone with a former colleague who was one of those ex-enemies-turned-pals. It’s definitely an art-form to be able to drop grudges and then become friends. I’ve often thought that he could be a politician, if not for the b.s. of campaigning.

    I didn’t realize it at the time that John reached out to me, but I had actually heard him before our initial phone conversation…on the radio. I’m from New Jersey, but I went to Hofstra University on Long Island, and he was occasionally on the air on WLIR or WDRE, whatever it was called at the time. Long Island’s modern rock radio! He told me about his on-air experience, I had some weird flashback. I think I may have heard him introduce a Flesh For Lulu song. Maybe “Postcards From Paradise.” I know that I also once heard him introduce Trio’s “Da Da Da.” It’s perfect that I would remember that, since it is such a bizarre and random song, which is kind of like John’s sense of humor. I’m sure John would make some kind of argument that Trio is better than the Rolling Stones. “Much better! There’s no comparison!”

    I also didn’t realize it at the time, but I had actually heard OF him. One of my colleagues at my first job was complaining about him. I think what happened was, John went on the air at K-ROCK in NY and announced where you could listen to a bootlegged copy of a not-yet-released Nine Inch Nails song… on the internet. This was the ‘90s, most people still had dial-up modems, if they were connected to the web at all. Music was not free, and “leaks” weren’t a thing. I think there was one big music website at the time, Addicted To Noise. The music industry had no idea what it was in for. Anyway, my colleague was really pissed about what John had done – “He doesn’t know how to deal with record labels or publicists!” It would take a while before I absorbed the irony of that comment!

    But John always had a journalistic instinct, no matter where he was working, and regardless of his wife’s position. To John, it was about the story, making it interesting and relevant. It was not about being a fan of an artist (I’m not sure he was a fan of any artist, with the possible exception of Steely Dan; he told me that the last good album by anyone, ever, was de la soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising). John was definitely not about having a friendly relationship with labels and publicists, even though he used to work at a label, and is married to the greatest publicist.

    And let me take a moment to address that amazing publicist, because the two of them are always intertwined in my mind. When Tracy pings me on Facebook, my reaction is to answer her as her employee. I’ve never even worked for her! A mutual friend told me that he had once asked what John’s wife is like. And the answer he got was, “She’s like John,” which is true. It is a bit uncanny. They’re both tough, they have no time for bullshit. They toss out lots of weird pop-culture references at high speeds (John does that more often); sometimes I feel like I’m barely keeping up with the conversation. Oh and they love their daughter fiercely, and they love Brooklyn.

    They are also the warmest people you could ever want to meet. And the most compassionate; you can just look at John’s Facebook feed (although right now you’ll pass hundreds of loving tributes as you scroll down). Look at the things that outrage him. You can see his good heart right there, his sense of justice and decency. He’s kind of a liberal, but without all the embarrassing hippie parts. Seriously, he would have been a great politician in the Bernie Sanders way.

    People complain about Facebook often, and John did as well. I think he had a book called “Social Media is Bullshit” or something like that. But I’m glad that Facebook has given me more insight into John and Tracy.

    In fact, it was via Facebook that I reconnected with them after a few years of not being in touch. At one point, I was trying to leave my job to get a gig at Billboard, and I asked Tracy for a recommendation. The next day, John pings me, with yet another unexpected job offer. Within maybe two weeks, I started at CBS Local, where I still am today.

    Here’s another thing about Facebook: it has given many of us the opportunity to watch their beautiful daughter Gracie grow up. Also, it’s been just amazing to watch John and Tracy as parents. There’s no doubt in my mind that that kid is going to be a wonderful person, and that she’s going to do great things. She’s gonna be a firecracker. I know she’ll make John and Tracy proud.

    I was trying to remember any work conversations I had with John when I worked for him at SW. I realized, we didn’t have many, or any. I did my job and he had no comments about it. People have come to think of me as the “classic rock guy,” but at the time, I had kind of a snobby attitude about some of those vintage artists. I just knew I wanted to do a good job, and I did. I didn’t want to let John down. And I think that’s why when I was in his office, we talked about Star Trek and The Simpsons instead of work-related manners, unless it was him telling me who was dead to him. He never really knew what I was doing, he just kind of trusted me to do it. So I never told him about the time that I interviewed the great producer Don Was. Back then, we had to do phone interviews in the studio. And some wires were screwed up in the studio, because the audio that I recorded was unintelligible. It was a great interview too, we talked about Dylan, Was (Not Was), Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, Iggy Pop, it was awesome. And I still have nightmares about that one. I’m sure people who do interviews can relate.

    Since I’ve been here at CBS Local/, I’ve interviewed Don Was three times, the third being yesterday. I remember being so nervous the first time I spoke to Mr. Was. Yesterday as I was introducing myself on the phone, he was like, “I remember you, man.” It went great. I checked to see that the interview recorded when I was done. All good! I was going to finally tell John what had happened to that interview all those years ago, and I’m sorry that I won’t get that chance. He did once tell me I “sucked at technical stuff.” Fair enough. On the other hand, he complimented me on my Jimmy Page interview. He doesn’t offer compliments too too often. I’ll take it.

    I was glad that my team ordered him a bottle of bourbon (per Tracy) on Monday, and that it was delivered that day. Same-day shipping, man, that really paid off this time! We were thinking of getting him a copy of the now-out-of-print Chris Rock film “Pootie Tang.” Maybe it’s the “Da Da Da” of movies (John loves “false equivalencies”). It’s just this random weird movie that John swears is the best film of all time. I asked Tracy about this on Tuesday and she said, “IT’S THE BEST MOVIE EVER.” I was about to order it when we all heard the horrible news. I think I’ll order it anyway. We talked about it in our morning meeting today, which was, of course, unlike any other morning meeting ever. And we decided to have a Pootie Tang screening at our office at some point in the next week or two. I think he’d like that.

    As Spock said, “I have been, and shall always be, your friend.” – from Star Trek II, the best Trek film ever. I’m sure you’d argue and say III was better.

  • Andrew Porter

    An obituary has been posted on Billboard’s site, here:

  • Chuck Taylor

    Brooklyn Heights has lost part of its heart and soul.

  • Arch Stanton

    Rest In Peace Bro You will be missed.

  • whodiditandran

    It was with complete shock and utter sadness that I read of John’s untimely demise. Through this marvelous blog that was his creation, I discovered a voice that I didn’t know I had or was capable of expressing. This soapbox that he offered me and many others helped draw us all together as neighbors, both new and old, to discuss and argue about this little slice of Brooklyn that we have called our home.He was a master at administrating the site, never censoring or critiquing, yet not above nudging an argument along when he felt it needed some goosing. He understood this site in all its aspects…as a source of conversation, comfort, and most of all, conviviality when its at its best. John jokingly nicknamed me the “uber-poster” for my frequent missives on the site (or rants, as some would describe them). To me, John was and always will be the uber-mensch. I have not posted much on the blog since my move to Long Island, but after one of my recent comments, John’s reply was, “You are missed, Nabeguy”, which I consider the highest praise possible. I’m so sad to have to be saying the same thing to him today.

    Sweet passage Homer Fink, and my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Tracy and Gracie, the loves of his life.


  • DIBS

    Tragic loss.

  • Mini_Cooper

    Oh dear… what horrible news. Condolences to the family. He will be greatly missed.

  • Peter Loibl

    While I know this blow is still very fresh in our minds, but I think it’s worth considering changing the name of the blog to honor this man who touched so many of us. RIP John.

  • Mlo

    They say you should leave a place better than the way you found it. Thank you John, thank you Homer.

  • Gianluca Martorelli

    A tremendous loss and
    very sad news indeed. Rest in peace John. Thank you for all that you did for this
    neighborhood. I still remember when he was trying to help me with my “Ready
    To order” guide few years ago and the passion he had for the blog that he recently
    opened at that time trying to say few words in Italian with me to impress me…! So
    excited about his new born and his family every time our strollers… would bump
    to each other. What a great smart man. I will always remember him.

  • AEB

    Indeed, you ARE missed, Mr. Nabeguy-whodiditandran…

  • Adele Bernhard

    i am so sad. this is what blog I read EVERY day. Adele

  • Miss DLS

    I am stunned and saddened to learn this. Rest in peace Homer Fink. :-(

  • ShinyNewHandle

    I will remember him beaming down into his daughter’s stroller as he perambulated the neighborhood. She was so evidently loved. Reading these remembrances, I now wish I’d known him better.

  • Princess

    This really sucks. – Judith

  • David G.

    I’m very saddened by this news. I remember John as a great guy to talk to who knew everything and everyone in BKH. What a loss to the community. My heart goes out to his young family.

  • CHatter

    Gutting news, a terrible and untimely loss. (Possibly the only thing this group has agreed on. If that’s the price of unanimity, I prefer discord.) I never met John or took the tour. I had this urge to sign up for it this morning, in hopes it would somehow bring him back….

  • ujh

    Shocked to learn about Homer’s passing. I took a Brooklyn Heights tour with him once and always enjoyed his humor and irony. My condolences to his family.

  • Steve R.

    As Bklyn Heights residents for over 30 years, we’ve been reading the blog just about daily since its inception. Although we didn’t know John personally & only met him once or twice over the years, he had an obvious passion for what he was doing, he did it well & he maintained a great sense of humor & humility about it all. He will be missed. Our condolences to his family on their great loss.