Love. Set. Match.
Bronxville is center stage for tennis pro Patrick McEnroe and his wife, singer-actress Melissa Errico.
It wasn’t long after Patrick McEnroe, Melissa Errico, and their three daughters moved to Bronxville that Errico was tapped by the long arm of the local law.
“I got a ticket for sideswiping a car on something called Sagamore Road,” she says of the car-lined street she was trying to navigate in her soccer-mom minivan. “It was super-narrow, so there was very little room to pull over.” She was nabbed again — sans citation this time — for passing on another thin local road whose pavement wasn’t marked for two cars. Errico’s pre-Bronxville driving experience had been limited to straight, wide highways, such as I-95 and the Long Island Expressway. “I’m relearning how to drive and getting to know the local police officers,” she says with a laugh.
Vehicular mishaps aside, the McEnroe clan have settled smoothly into the English-style village since their 2016 move from Manhattan. “I enjoy sitting outside in the morning and walking the kids to school,” says McEnroe, 51. “Bronxville and Westchester are beautiful,” adds Errico, 47.
McEnroe’s surname is familiar to most because of his and brother John’s careers in professional tennis. John, 57, won three Wimbledons, four US Opens, and is considered among the greatest men’s tennis players of all time. Patrick’s career-high rankings were World No. 28 in singles and World No. 3 in doubles. In the Grand Slam arena, Patrick and partner Jim Grabb won the 1989 French Open Men’s Doubles title, and he made it to the quarterfinals in singles at the 1995 US Open. Patrick was also America’s longest-serving Davis Cup captain, at 10 years.
After retiring from the professional tour in 1998, due to two debilitating shoulder surgeries, the younger McEnroe was the general manager of the USTA Elite Player Development from 2008 to 2014 and served as a US Open tennis commentator and match analyst for CBS for 10 years. He now does the same for ESPN and will be covering the 2017 US Open for the cable network. Patrick and John’s other sibling, Mark, 55, is a lawyer who lives in Connecticut.
Errico, meanwhile, is also no stranger to the spotlight. Her fame lies in her career as a singer and actress. She’s been in more than 50 musicals, and her seven Broadway-musical credits include My Fair Lady; High Society; Amour; Dracula, the Musical; and White Christmas. For the Irish Repertory Theater, she starred in The Importance of Being Earnest, Finian’s Rainbow, Major Barbara, and Candida. Errico’s musical and non-musical stage work has earned her five Drama Desk nominations, as well as a Tony nod.
photograph by david kenas
Melissa Errico occasionally steps off the stage and grabs a mic to wow the crowds. In July, she appeared at NYC’s Birdland, as part of the jazz venue’s Broadway at Birdland concert series.
She’s released five solo albums and seven cast recordings and soundtracks. She debuted at Carnegie Hall last March, during an evening celebrating songwriter Harry Warren. As a live-performance singer, Errico takes to the boards at intimate clubs and on concert stages, including Katonah’s Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. Her fall engagement schedule includes Melissa Sings Sondheim on November 17 and 18 at the Manhattan supper club Feinstein’s/54 Below. Errico’s silver-screen credits include Frequency, Life or Something Like It, and Loverboy. The Good Wife, The Knick, Billions, and Blue Bloods are on her TV résumé.
Though McEnroe and Errico got hitched when she was in her mid-20s and he in his early 30s, they’ve known each other since childhood. McEnroe, who grew up in Douglaston, Queens, and Errico, from Manhasset, NY, attended Buckley Country Day School, a private school in Roslyn, NY. McEnroe’s best friend was Errico’s older brother, Mike.
“I tagged along with Mike and Patrick all through grade school,” recalls Errico, “but to them, I was just the annoying little sister.” McEnroe and Errico lost touch when he went off to Trinity, a college-prep school in Manhattan. After that, she saw him only on TV and assumed they’d never meet again.
Luckily, Errico was wrong. While recuperating from one of his shoulder surgeries, McEnroe was at loose ends in his Upper West Side apartment when he came across a postcard from his longtime friend Mike Errico, who is a singer, songwriter, and music journalist, as well as a professor of songwriting at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. The postcard was part of a mass mailing announcing Mike’s musical gig, which was the very next night at a café on Canal Street.
Meanwhile, McEnroe’s parents, John Sr. and Kay, had stayed in touch with Errico’s parents, Angela and Michael, and had been following Errico’s career on the Great White Way. “Oh, Melissa Errico — you should see her!” Kay would rave to Patrick, trying to play matchmaker. “She’s amazing! She’s gorgeous!”
With that in mind, and his right arm in a sling, McEnroe trekked down to the café, thinking Melissa might also be there. His hunch paid off. After Mike’s set, McEnroe sat at the bar with Mike and Melissa: “He looked at her, and I pretty much knew it was on,” remembers Mike. “The attraction was there from [the first] moment, for sure.”
“We talked, got late-night burgers at The Corner Bistro in the West Village, and I walked her home at three in the morning,” says McEnroe of Errico. “The next day, I took her on a date to the Angelika Film Center, on West Houston, and the rest is history.”
So, how did McEnroe, who knew zip about theater, and Errico, who knew zilch about tennis, find common ground?
“We somehow had a little spark,” McEnroe explains. “I think a tennis player’s focused energy and a theatrical actor’s intense involvement in performing created a connection between us. Having known each other as kids, and having similar backgrounds and families, definitely helped.”
Patrick McEnroe and his brother John commentating at the US Open.
“They complement each other very well,” says Mike. “And it’s hilarious to me that Patrick has gotten so into show tunes and Melissa so into tennis.” Patrick and Melissa married 18 months later, in December 1998, at Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in New York.
The couple’s eldest child is 11-year-old Victoria Penny. Her middle name comes from McEnroe’s obsession with picking up pennies wherever he spots them. Their other kids are 8-year-old twins Juliette Beatrice and Diana Katherine.
The girls have obviously inherited their parents’ talents. Diana attends a class at the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center two or three times a week. Victoria, who’s ranked high on tennis’s 12-and-under circuit, practices four hours a day at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy on Randall’s Island, the Academy’s New York City flagship location, where Patrick is the co-director of the kids’ tennis program. Juliette takes theater classes at Concordia College and dance classes in Scarsdale.
The family mix includes a Yorkshire terrier, Pepper, around whom everyone lovingly circulates. “He’s a charmer,” says Errico. In fact, Pepper played an instrumental part in their move to Bronxville. At one of the pup’s annual birthday parties, a family friend told Errico all about the village. “Her happiness piqued my interest,” she remembers.
Shortly after, Errico scoured Bronxville’s residential real estate listings and drove up to check out the couple’s top choices. They decided on the smallest house on the list: a 1926, four-bedroom, four-bathroom home on just under a half-acre. “All of the houses were very pretty, but this one was very happy,” says Errico. To preserve its 1920s character and details, they renovated only the floors.
McEnroe describes it as “a very sweet house in a great neighborhood. Bronxville is very manageable, easy to get around. The girls can play outside all day, ride their bikes, jump on our trampoline, play ping-pong, and play in the yard with their friends.”
Happily ensconced in their new hometown, the family members have already discovered local favorites. The easygoing McEnroe, whose voice sounds much like John’s, has taken a shine to Slave to the Grind and Underhills Crossing, as well as Eastchester’s Burrata Wood Fired Pizza. Errico frequents Value Drugs Family Center on Pondfield Road (“the most fun store ever!”) and Yogurt Haven in Tuckahoe. The girls adore Candy Rox, and the whole gang loves Scalini Osteria, Häagen-Dazs, and the retro-vibed Bronxville Diner.
McEnroe learned early on, however, that peace and quiet also happens to be one of Bronxville’s finest features. “We moved in last September, when I was working at the 2016 US Open,” he recalls. “Every night, while driving home, I rolled down all the windows as soon as I approached our house and said, ‘It’s so nice to hear the sounds of the night.’”
Irvington’s Jenny Higgons is a nine-year veteran of The Journal News. Her fun, fast-paced e-novel, Riding the Crest: Cheaters Can Prosper, is available on Amazon.com. She tends to boast that one of her great-uncles, Frank T. Hunter, was a Wimbledon champ in the 1920s.