Street vendors integral to New Haven's early Italian community

Aug 29, 2023 744

BY: Frank Carrano

The streets of Wooster Square, beginning at the turn of the 20th century right until the 1950s, were frequented by street vendors, or peddlers as they were originally known. Many goods were offered for sale off off pushcarts so that the housewife, at home, could purchase goods right from their front door.

Vintage photos show small clusters of people gathered around the fruit and vegetable vendor or the fish monger. Frank Pepe began his business by carrying the small tomato pies, later to be known as apizza, on his head in a specially made hat, and later from a wagon along the Wooster Street neighborhood. Besides fresh food, peddlers sold services such as knife sharpening, rag collection and, early on, ice for the icebox.


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