The ‘Funky Soulfulness’ of New York’s Immigrant Nativity Scenes

Dec 11, 2018 423

BY: Helene Stapinski

It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and Joseph Sciorra was ready to build his presepio in his Williamsburg apartment. A Styrofoam base was in place on a small table in the corner of the kitchen. There were plastic containers and tape and nails and dried bunches of herbs to serve as vegetation.

This year, his presepio — an elaborate Nativity and village scene traditionally built by Italians during Christmastime — would contain a pond, a stream and a waterfall for the first time. But just as he was starting to build, disaster struck. His pump broke.

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