Bayonne Flag Raising Celebrates Italian Heritage

Oct 13, 2020 135

BY: Al Sullivan

The Friday flag raising in front of Bayonne City Hall gave local Italian Americans an opportunity to celebrate their heritage. “Bayonne has always celebrated this day over the years,” said Joe Ryan, a Bayonne historian. Bayonne became a destination for Italian Americans in the late 1800s and was already a significant part of the population when then Rev. Michael T Mercolino celebrated mass for Italian immigrants at his 21st Street storefront in 1902.

Long before there was a Chuck Wepner, the Bayonne Bleeder, there was Peter Scarano, the Bayonne champion boxer in the 1920s. During the 1950s and 1960s, Bayonne held its own Italian festival at the end of August each year similar to St. Ann’s Festival in Hoboken, sponsored by the Mike Polifrone Association near 48th Street. For many years, Bayonne even boasted of a very successful soccer team called The Bayonne Italians.

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