ITALIAN POPULATION in EAST HARLEM-1930 CENSUS-Historical Facts and Figures

So, historically speaking, where exactly did the neighborhood of East Harlem begin and end? Technically, the boundary started at 96th Street, from the East River, west to 5th Avenue, and heading North to 125th Street, but for all intents and purposes, the majority of the Italian district started well past E. 100th Street, and basically, started thinning out past E.125th Street.
Note: According to the 1930 Census, there were 5800 Italians living between E. 99th and E. 104th, from 1st Avenue to 3rd Avenue. Next, from East 104th to East 109th Streets, from 1st Avenue, heading west to 3rd Avenue, there were 15,500 Italians living in that zone. Moving North, from East 109th to 114th Street, there were 12,500 Italians living between Pleasant Ave., 1st and 3rd Avenues. And then, from East 114th Street, up to East 119th Street, between Pleasant Avenue, heading west to 3rd Avenue, there were 20,500 Italians living in that zone. This particular “Italian zone” is probably the largest, due to the fact that Pleasant Avenue was included in these population figures. Historically, Pleasant Avenue’s residential community started near Jefferson Park, from East 114th Street-near Rao’s, up toward East 125th Street. (However, past East 121st Street, near Pleasant Avenue (back in the day before the public housing development was built), that area was largely industrial in nature-up towards East 125th Street). Lastly, from East 119th Street, up to around East 125th Street, there were approximately 11,500 Italians living between Pleasant Ave. and 3rd Avenue. If you move West, from 3rd Avenue, up to 5th Avenue, there were thousands more Italians, starting from 91st Street, on the east side, and heading west and North to 5th Avenue and up past E. 125th Street! 🙂 Source: Casa Italiana Educational Bureau of Columbia University. (Leonard Covello was the Executor Director, at that time).



Artist Luigi Del Bianco

Since this year marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of Mount Rushmore, the staff of the National Park Service has been posting short bios of the Mt. Rushmore workers, on their official Facebook page. Well, after 25 years, the National Park Service has finally acknowledged that Luigi Del Bianco was in fact the “Chief Carver!” Permanent recognition at the mountain is what we are really after, but this is a break through, and a start in the right direction!

Here’s Luigi Biography, as told by the National Park Service: 

Artist Luigi Del Bianco came to work at Mount Rushmore at the request of Gutzon Borglum, the designer and engineer of the stone sculpture. Luigi Del Bianco worked for Mr. Borglum during the seasons of 1933, 1935, 1936 and 1940. He was a Senior Driller until the end of July in 1935 when Mr. Borglum designated him Chief Carver. Del Bianco was a trained stone carver originally from Italy who had worked for Mr. Borglum before the Mount Rushmore Project began. Mr. Del Bianco resided in Port Chester New York where he had a successful stone carving business. After his work on Mount Rushmore, he moved back east to resume his stone carving business.


Let’s let the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE know that LUIGI has a lot of fans all over the country!!


Douglas Gladstone

On the Inside Looking Out: My America, a Voice from Italian Harlem’s Past…

Asked if she liked America, an Italian homeworker replied in 1911: “Not much, not much. In my country, people cook out-of doors, do the wash out-of-doors, tailor out-of-doors, make macaroni out-of-doors. And my people laugh, laugh all the time. In America, is “sopra, sopra!” [up, up, with a gesture of going upstairs]. Many people, one house; work, work all the time. Good money but no good air.” 

Source: Elizabeth C. Watson, “Home Work in the Tenements,” Survey, 25 (1910), 772

In hindsight, perhaps, the above statement could have been spoken by the hard-working Italian woman portrayed in this iconic, social journalistic photo. Her name was Mary Mauro. Mary lived in Italian East Harlem, in a 5 story “old-law” walk-up tenement, along with her family in 1911. By some “synchronistic serendipity,” Mary was one of the “homeworkers” chosen by sociologist and photographer, Lewis Wickes Hine, to be portrayed in his photographic documentary series, on immigrants in the United States… in this particular case, child labor and tenement homework. In December of 1911, Mary lived at 309 East 110th Street, adjacent to the Metropolitan Gas Light Company’s massive twin gas tanks. (Predecessor of Consolidated Edison.) Coincidentally, for my family history research, My paternal great grandmother, Maria Altieri, her husband, Andrea, and their 5 children lived in the same building, later on in time, during the 1920’s. It’s highly possible that this woman is the grandmother-in-law of my father’s first cousin, Kiki Aiello Mauro, as her husband, Louie Mauro hailed from this Italian enclave. (Note to self: I really need to ask my Aiello cousins if there is a connection here.) 🙂

Upshot: The old adage, “snap a picture, it lasts longer!”, is so true in Mary Mauro’s case, as she and her family are forever etched in the virtual superhighway of our existence! Thank you, Mr. Lewis Wickes Hine! God Bless our ancestral heritage…God Bless America!

New York. December 1911. “5 p.m. Mrs. Mary Mauro, 309 E. 110th St., 2nd floor. Family works on feathers (sewing them together for use as a hat trimming). Make $2.25 a week. In vacation two or three times as much. Victoria, 8 yrs. Angelina 10 yrs. (a neighbor). Frorandi 10 yrs. Maggie 11 yrs. All work except two boys against wall. Father is street cleaner and has steady job. Girls work until 7 or 8 p.m. Once Maggie worked until 10 p.m.”

New York. December 1911. “5 p.m. Mrs. Mary Mauro, 309 E. 110th St., 2nd floor. Family works on feathers (sewing them together for use as a hat trimming). Make $2.25 a week. In vacation two or three times as much. Victoria, 8 yrs. Angelina 10 yrs. (a neighbor). Frorandi 10 yrs. Maggie 11 yrs. All work except two boys against wall. Father is street cleaner and has steady job. Girls work until 7 or 8 p.m. Once Maggie worked until 10 p.m.”

mauro-family-1911-color.png zeldave2014 wp (2)Colored photo source:

309 East 110th Street- March 29th 2015

Note: 309 East 110th Street, East Harlem. (309’s “stoop” is on the far right of this photo.) The gas tanks are long gone. I believe they were taken down in the 1970’s. Photo by Angela Puco

Banca Stabile & Co. – New York, Boston – Commercial Street, Boston

Map Symbols: Showing Multivariate Data with Texture

Here are detailed maps of the population and demographics of NYC, way back in 1894.

Making Maps: DIY Cartography


Map of New York City, Showing the Distribution of the Principal Nationalities by Sanitary Districts published in Harper’s Weekly (January 5, 1895, pp. 60–61) using 1890 U.S. Census data.

This map looks great, revealing a substantial amount of information with its intense, juxtaposed patterns.

The textures on the map show the relative amounts of different nationalities (qualitative data) in each of the areas (sanitary districts) on the map:


The map shows if a district has more or less diversity (more or fewer lines of different textures), the relative proportions of different nationalities, the nationalities themselves, and, at a broader scale, the districts that are similar or differ in their nationality constitution. Because of the careful rotation of the lines of textures, the different sanitary districts can also be distinguished from each other.

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Canzone Napoletana-Click on link below

Canzone Napoletana-Click on link below

Arrival Of Immigrants – Ellis Island 1906

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Talking about Antimo…

Grandpa Antimo Puca While interviewing my cousin Herby for family recollections, he mentioned that our grandfather, Antimo (Tony) operated a produce store, around the corner from Arthur Avenue (across from St.Barnabus Hospital.) *Note: The timeline for this story is around the mid to late 1950’s.* Herby clearly recalled the fact that, written on the storefront awning, were the words, “Tony’s Live and Let Live…” Hence, Tony’s favorite quote was, “Live and Let Live!
Antimo Puca was the second child born to Stefano Puca and Teresina Milo. He was born in the small town of Sant’Antimo, Naples, on the 25th day of August, 1896. The first child born to his parents was a boy named Antimo. He was named in the traditional fashion, to honor Stefano’s father, Antimo Puca. Tragically, this baby died. Perhaps he died from the Cholera epidemic which was running rampant across Italy, at that time. Anyway, when the second child was also born a boy, he was named Antimo.
Antimo’s parents, Stefano and Teresa, were married in Sant’Antimo on the 25th day of November, 1892. Teresa was 23 and Stefano was 21. In September of 1901, Stefano made the decision to travel to America in search of a better way to support his family. He traveled, in steerage, on the S.S. Burgundia, from the Fabre Line’s fleet of steamships. Upon arrival at Ellis Island’s immigration processing station, he passed through and went to East Harlem to live with his cousin, on Lexington Avenue. Stefano went back to Italy, and in 1905, he was back in New York, having traveled in “steerage” on Fabre Line’s S.S.Germania.
At that time, Stefano was living at 2123 1st Avenue in E.Harlem. The 3-story “old law tenement” was located between E.109th and 110th Streets. Today, the building is no longer there, however, the adjacent tenements still stand. They are relics of the past. Mementos of a time, long gone. These surviving tenements are the final vestiges of the mass exodus from Europe. They were built for the purpose of housing multitudes of immigrant laborers.
When I visit East Harlem, I feel what my family before me felt. Standing on the very sidewalks that they stepped upon, looking at the tenements that they once dwelled in, helps me to understand what sacrifice they endured. I am able to envision their arrival from Naples. The emptiness that they felt when they stepped into the dark and musty tenement hallways. The despair that they possessed within, wondering if they made the right choice to leave the only home that they ever knew. New York City was a far cry from the town of Sant’Antimo, and Benevento. The fresh air, the open fields, familiar faces, are all a shadow of the past.
The new reality for people like Stefano Puca would be hard labor, sacrifice and the burning hope for a new and better life. They would work around the clock, only to earn about 10 dollars a week. But this would be enough to pay their rent, buy their food, and send money back to their families abroad. Within 4 years time, the Puca’s will reunite in East Harlem. Stefano will come back to New York in April, and Teresina and her 6 year old daughter, Rosina, will arrive on the 3rd of July. Antimo’s name was crossed out from the ship manifest. He did not travel with his mother and sister. Perhaps he was sick and the shipping line, “White Star Line,” refused his entrance onto the “S.S. Romanic.” Perhaps he was reluctant to go to America. He was only 8 1/2 yrs. old at this time, and he may have been rebellious to the idea of leaving his home. At any rate, what I do know is that, on the 28th day of March, 1906, 9 days before Mt.Vesuvious in Naples would erupt, Antimo Puca arrived at Ellis Island, having traveled in steerage on the S.S. Cretic. He was accompanied by his uncle, and they were detained on Ellis Island for 2 days, until Stefano signed as surety for them. Written on their Detention list were the letters.”LPC.” This stands for the words, “Likely Public Charge.” Until they could prove that they would not be a financial burden on the United States, they would be held in detention, on Ellis Island. Luckily, their detention was short. Most likely, they sent a Western Union wire to Stefano, explaining that he must come to Ellis Island to sign for their release.

Vito Marcantonio Online

Destination America: An informative site to learn more about the wave of immigration that made America what it is today. Click on the link below to visit this site.<