Italian American Museum pilots a tour of Little Italy, NYC

Sep 13, 2022 1291

You’ve been to Little Italy countless times. Why take a tour? I wanted to learn, in depth, the history of the community — the conditions and prejudices with which the immigrants were confronted. As a New Yorker of Italian immigrants, this tour was very endearing to me. One of the highlights of the tour was learning about Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, the only uniformed NYPD officer killed in the line of duty outside the United States, in 1909.

Born in Padula, Italy, in 1860, Petrosino was sent to NYC at a very young age with two young cousins to live with their grandfather. The latter was subsequently killed in a streetcar accident. A judge took charge of the children until arrangements were made to bring over family members from Italy. On October 19, 1883, Petrosino joined the NYPD. He was the first Italian language speaker in the NYPD’s history.

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