Happy birthday, Joe

Catholic neighbors send warm wishes to a beloved Jewish institution in the Bronx:

This Bronx parking-lot valet started driving when Model Ts were kings of the road.

Joe Binder turned 102 yesterday, celebrating 25 years as the booth attendant at Mario’s Restaurant on Arthur Avenue — a job he landed when gas cost 89 cents a gallon.

“I still drive locally, and I just renewed my license, so I’m good until I turn 110 years old,” said Binder. “My secret? I’ve been very nice to people in my life. I got hurt along the way, but I turn the other cheek and forgive those who have wronged me.”

Binder, who has no children of his own, said that may also be “one of the reasons I’ve stayed stress-free all these years,” Binder said.

It doesn’t hurt that his girlfriend, Annette, is only 48 years old.

“There’s no sex involved, just companionship,” he said, adding they frequently go dancing.

Working at Mario’s has been an adventure, the centenarian said.

“I remember the cast from ‘The Sopranos’ came to shoot a scene here in the restaurant, I had to be here at 4 in the morning to open the lot for them. They were great.”

Another time, Fox 5 anchor Greg Kelly came by for lunch, discovered Binder, “and wanted an interview, but I was too busy. I had to turn him down.”

Binder, born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to Jewish immigrants, is among the most beloved characters in the mostly Catholic Italian neighborhood where a huge banner was strung across Arthur Avenue wishing him happy birthday.

“Sometimes I think I’m dreaming when I think of how many people love and care for me here on Arthur Avenue.”

Read more. Birthday blessings, Joe!

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