By 1915, he had changed his given name from Papa to Pope, become a U.S. citizen, married Italian immigrant Catherine Richichi, and fathered three children, Fortune, Anthony, and Generoso Jr.
Through ambition and brains, he found new customers, fought off the competition, paid the company’s debt, and expanded the business. Within two years Generoso had become president of Colonial and by 1926, the company had taken over most of the leading sand dealerships in New York.
Generoso fashioned alliances with politicians who helped him achieve his goal of becoming a key figure in New York politics and the construction industry. At the age of 36, Generoso was the millionaire owner of Colonial, the country’s largest sand and gravel business, providing the concrete for much of New York City’s skyline, including Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, airports and subways.
In 1928, Generoso purchased America’s largest Italian-language daily newspaper, Il Progresso Italo-Americano. By launching a publishing career, he bolstered his influence by becoming the most dominant Italian-born leader in New York. His dominion was so commanding that his blessings were vital to political candidates, civic officials, and religious leaders if they ever hoped to succeed.