Bensonhurst’s last Italian record store tells the story of a community

Jul 25, 2019 259

Ilario Bianchi opens the door of S.A.S. Italian Records and heads straight to the back of the store to snag a copy of his favorite weekly Italian magazine: Cronaca Vera. At the counter, Louise Baslie is naming all her family members who need cornicelli, Italian amulets that protect against the evil eye. Italian opera from surrounding speakers is sending waves past every green, white and red knick knack, cassette and CD in this homogenous oasis of a fleeting culture that once called Bensonhurst home.

It was Baslie’s first time visiting the shop on 18th Avenue between 71st and 72nd streets. The 68-year-old Staten Island resident called ahead to secure the cornicelli for her loved ones and ended up leaving with six of the talismans and a stove-top espresso maker.

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