At Home With The Catos–The Art Of Being A Gracious Host

As we continue our series of stories highlighlighting places to stay and where to dine, we wanted to introduce you to a popular way of finding suitable accommodations for you and your beloved as well as your traveling guests. The world of Airbnb!

Airbnb has revolutionized the ways in which we travel and where we stay. Launched in October 2007 by Nate Blecharczyk,  Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia; it has opened doors to homes of countless people around the world allowing them to convert their homes into private hotels. This has disrupted the hotel industry entirely. For many hosts, it has provided a means to earn a living, and provide a new form of revenue. But for others it has allowed their luxury vacation homes to become another source of revenue for them. Whatever the reason, it has definitely become one of the most popular ways for couples to honeymoon as well as traveling guests to attend any weddings.

We caught up with one host, the Cato’s.  This Brooklyn based family made up of siblings have legally converted their childhood home into an exquisite oasis for travelers that have included business travelers, vacationers, guests attending a wedding and even brides getting married. They named the home Rossini’s Place after their late mother, Ira Rossini, who was both a pillar in her family and well-known in her community. Mom was known for her generosity and hospitality and the home was often the place to get together. It will be long remembered for countless soirees for friends and family. As such, they would like to continue in the path of their mom’s legacy by making the house a place where friends and families can enjoy great moments and make beautiful memories.

Meet The Catos Then (Ira and Hilton)

Ira Rossini Wiltshire-Cato-Knight was born Ira Rossini Wiltshire on June 4, 1929. She was the twelfth of Leonora and Wesley Wiltshire’s seventeen children.

During the early 1950’s in Guyana, as in most of the world, there were few roles for women besides that of homemaker. In an era when most women were being defined by the roles society placed on them, Ira did not allow herself to be restricted by such narrow-minded thinking. She embarked on a career in Journalism as a proofreader and typesetter for The Daily Chronicle, one of the leading newspapers in the country, making her one of a few women in that arena.

In 1954, Ira resigned her position at the newspaper and married Hilton Aubrey Cato (deceased), a widower with four children –Gerald, Hilton Jr. (deceased), Brucy and Willa. Their union produced three more children: Pat, Ruby and Clifford leading Ira to take on the full-time role of mother and homemaker. In 1971 Ira migrated to the United States. She married Lacy Knight in 1973, a union that lasted for almost twenty-five years until Lacy passed away in 1997.

Meet The Catos Now

Pat, the oldest of Ira’s children, resides in Brooklyn, New York. She’s semi-retired and works as a consultant/project manager. Prior to her most recent venture, Pat, an Electrical Engineer, spent her career as a member of technical staff with AT&T, -Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies-Bell Laboratories. Sheparticipated in several mentorship programs and was a founding member of PACE -Brooklyn (Program for Acceleration in Careers in Engineering), a program designed to help minority students with Math and Science. She also served on the Board of Directors for PACE. Like her mom, Pat loves to read, travel and entertain friends and family.

Ruby is the second of Ira’s children; she resides in Curaçao. She is a CPA who began her public accounting career in New York City with Mitchell/Titus & Company before transitioning over to the New York office of Ernst & Young where she held the position of Senior Manager. In the 1990s, Ruby relocated to Curaçao to pursue a career in the offshore investments arena with Fortis Fund Services (Curaçao) N.V. where she held a senior management position for more than ten years. After leaving Fortis, Ruby founded Curanice Consulting N.V., a company that provides administrative and other related services for offshore investment funds. She also holds directorships to several offshore investment companies across various jurisdictions. Ruby is an avid gardener who enjoys reading and traveling in her spare time.

Clifford is the “baby” of the family; he resides in Staten Island, New York. He studied Photography. However, he fell in love with plaster restoration while working as an apprentice, during high school and college, with his stepfather Lacy who was a Master Plasterer. Clifford, who’s now a Master Plasterer, has owned and operated Cliff Plaster Restoration for more than three decades and has had the privilege of helping in the restoration of several historical buildings in the New York City area. Clifford loves to read and travel. However, his primary relaxation comes from baking muffins and an array of tasty desserts.

Bond Street Brooklyn Your Home Away From Home

This charming three-story home, located in the Boerum Hill area of Downtown Brooklyn, was purchased by the family in December of 1976. This multilevel property is tucked on the tree lined block in Brooklyn New York and can be booked entirely with the capability of sleeping up to 10 guests comfortably.

Initially, the house had three separate apartments. However, within the first few months, the family converted it into a two-family dwelling hence occupying the first two floors and renting out the top floor. Today the house boasts solid plaster walls with beautiful moldings and medallions and high tin ceilings in some areas. By the end of the eighties, the building was converted into a single-family dwelling which is what it remains today. Like the surrounding shops and restaurants, the neighborhood

Pat, Clifford, and Ruby Cato take pride in providing a beautiful space to guests that book a stay in their families home.They continue in the path of their late mothers legacy known as a pillar in their community.  Their home was known for its hospitality and countless soirees for friends and family.

When you arrive you are warmly greeted by one of the Cato’s and you are sure to find refreshments. They give you the tour and the instructions needed to have a lovely stay and they graciously provide you with the tools needed to navigate through the city during your stay in New York.

So for those of you who are considering staying at an Airbnb, it may not be a bad idea. Just do your research and read the reviews. And be sure to ask questions of the host of any concerns. But what you want to avoid is comparing Airbnb to a traditional hotel. That it is not. You are being invited to someone’s home and they are extending a form of hospitality to you and in some cases sharing a family experience to you that is a bit more personal.

So as you continue to explore this beautiful planet, happy travels. Know you have options, beautiful options to make great memories.

* All photos taken by Hannah Sole-Powderly for Don’t Quit Your Day Job Production.

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