Yorgos Giotsas: Passage at the Italian American Museum

Sep 25, 2017 859

BY: D. Dominick Lombardi

Weaving my way south on Mulberry Street between Houston and Canal, with the Feast of San Gennero in full swing, is a little bit like stepping back in time. I remember the 1960s and 70s, when Manhattan’s Little Italy was still a vast and lively neighborhood filled with colorful shops and enticing restaurants. In his 2004 New York magazine article “Arrivederci, Little Italy”Bill Tonelli wrote: “Once, Little Italy was like an insular Neapolitan village re-created on these shores, with its own language, customs, and financial and cultural institutions.

Today, Little Italy is a veneer—50 or so restaurants and cafés catering to tourists, covering a dense neighborhood of tenements shared by recent Chinese immigrants, young Americans who can’t afford SoHo, and a few remaining real live Italians. At the turn of the twentieth century, more than 90 percent of the Fourteenth Ward’s inhabitants were Italian by birth or blood. In 2000, the three U.S. Census tracts that constitute Little Italy were home to 1,211 residents claiming Italian ancestry—8.25 percent of the total, roughly the same as the proportion of Italians in the entire city.”

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SOURCE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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