The Neighborhood That Disappeared

Nov 14, 2014 1134

The Neighborhood That Disappeared - by Mary Paley, John Romeo & Bernie Mulleda - Film's premier on WMHT (12/12 @ 8 pm.)

Film Summary

"The Italian is an intensely gregarious creature, comfortable in extended families, crowds, markets, piazzas – in song, debate, commerce. The Italian has for centuries cherished the primary aggregation of the human family and all the versions of the family he could find, in his work, his village, his quarter, his region. And the Italian American is no different."
The Italian Americans, A. Bartlett Giamatti

In 1962, New York state Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller displaced one-third of Albany's ethnic population to build his South Mall colossus. An Italian settlement resembling a southern Italian village was swiftly uprooted. Rockefeller's design was a manifestation of his hubris and will to power. In that moment, a mode of life mixing Old World flavors with mercantile aspirations was dealt a death blow. Albany's Little Italy was a feast for the senses. Its goals embraced the American dream.

Historians ask if Albany's transformation was a natural evolution of its ethnic center or a sterilization of the city's cultural essence. Did neighborhood residents that endured the Great Depression and the trenches of World War Two deserve this disregard? When Albany's political bosses were outmatched by a billionaire governor, they sold the South End for some pieces of silver.

From beneath the cornerstone of the Empire State Plaza, our film team will unearth a vibrant ethnic neighborhood that housed courageous immigrants and the Greatest Generation.Young boys invented street games; goods were exchanged in place of cash; no child grew up anonymously; no one went hungry. In these Italian American stories, viewers will find an inspiring resourcefulness that's gone missing in America.

Click here to view TNTD Trailer

Source: American Italian Heritage Association

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