Yes, God Does Bring Angels, Aunt Columbia!

Last week, I received a comment on this site, from a reader named Rich, who mentioned that he had a photo that I might like to add to this site. I sent him an email, saying that I would be more than happy to post an East Harlem photo. All the while, I assumed that it was a “vintage” photo. Not so! The next day, Rich sent me this photo, to my utter astonishment, and amazement! But wait! I am putting the cart before the horse. (smile) Here’s the email message that Rich sent me: 

Hi Angela,

   I just wanted to say that I enjoyed your site very much.  I grew up in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, another great Italian neighborhood that sadly has lost much of its Italian population and traditions.  I was always fascinated by the Italian American neighborhood of East Harlem, so driving through Pleasant Avenue on a warm Halloween night in 2007, I snapped two photos of some seniors sitting on chairs in front of their building at 310 Pleasant Avenue, while waiting for a traffic light to change.
(Rich continues to say…)
   As I thought about that photo over the years, I think about the end of summer and with winter quickly approaching…. the cold weather.  I think about these seniors and how they are enjoying talking “stoop gossip”. This might be the last time that weather permits them to sit outside like that.  Due to their age that might be the last time that they are all together sitting outside like that.  One never knows.
   I hope you enjoy it and hopefully someone recognizes the people in the photo.  If, by any chance that someone recognizes them, can you please drop me a quick email.  I would really appreciate it.
All the best,
Rich Conte
Ok, back to my story. As I was reading Rich’s email message, my heart started to beat a bit faster. The intuitive thought came into my head that the attached photo has my Great Aunt Columbia Pennino-Altieri in it! The words “seniors sitting on chairs” and “Pleasant Avenue” were key in my belief that this was indeed a photo of Columbia, with friends. Quickly, I scrolled down to view and download the photo, and THERE SHE WAS! In the flesh- but wind back 10 and a half years! I was speechless! But, very happy to have this awesome photo!
Columbia was born in East Harlem, on “ahun 17,” in December of 1921. In 1942, she married my dad’s uncle, Anthony Altieri. They were married in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, on “ahun 15th.” She passed away two years after this photo was taken. Rich, you were right. It was almost the last Halloween that Columbia had on this earth. She passed in early September of 2009. She was the last of my family that still lived in the old neighborhood. She was a “die hard” East Harlemite. She absolutely refused to move out of the place where she was born! She once said that she was born there… and she would die there! She was one tough cookie! Oh, I miss her very much.  Thank you so much, Rich! You made my day, and I know that Aunt Columbia is smiling down on us, saying…”God Brings Angels!”
NOTE: Columbia is the woman sitting on the right of this photo, next to her friend, J.R.
AIEH

Rich 310 Pleasant Avenuephilly's class-OLMC-columbia-2008 186 (1)This photo of Aunt Columbia and me, was taken in July of 2008, inside Patsy’s Pizzeria on First Avenue, in East Harlem. 🙂


Antonino Carroccio: A Day in the Life

TA Carroccio Cheese Truck 07 10 18 (2)About a month and a half ago, I checked my email inbox, and found this wonderful vintage photo. It made my day! Grazie mille, Paolo!

The man standing near the doorway is Antonino Carroccio. He is the paternal grandfather of Paul Carroccio, who was kind enough to share this fabulous vintage photo, circa 1928. The man sitting in the truck, was Morris Croot, a farmer from Holland Township, New Jersey.

Antonino was part owner of a family-run cheese shop, “Latticini” located at 311 East 107th St., N.Y.C.  His father, Alfio Carroccio, came to America in 1890, and settled in a tenement building at 311 E. 107th Street.  Subsequently, Alfio opened this latticini/cheese shop, selling mozzarella, ricotta, eggs, butter, milk, etc. After establishing this business in East Harlem’s Italian quarter, Alfio returned to Sicily around 1904, and left the business to his sons, Antonino, and Alfio, Jr.

Paul mentioned in his email to me, that the cheese was originally made locally in East Harlem, but the milk they bought to make the cheese, came from New Jersey.  However, the family continued to do that until 1908, when they decided to rent a location in New Jersey (to make the cheese) nearby to where they bought the milk, for freshness sake.  So began the shipping of cheese (in ice) to East Harlem! The cheese from the Carroccio’s Latticini shop was sold to local residents, Rao’s restaurant, on Pleasant Avenue, and many other establishments. Hey, come to think of it, I bet that my grandparents, and great-grandparents bought cheese and other items from this cheese shop! If only I could ask them! AIEH…thanks for the memories!

 

 


My Motivation Behind the Creation of ItalianHarlem.com- My Father, Albert :-)

Over 4 years have passed since you left this earthly plane of existence. Gone, but never forgotten. Your presence is very much missed, Daddy.
Riposa in Pace.

Italian Harlem

Daddy In December of 2007, I was 3 years into my “whirling dervish” obsession of gaining every drop of family history knowledge that I could garner. It became self-evident that my ancestral journey had begun, and so I conceived the idea of creating a website to memorialize, and forever “etch” into existence, the information that I would render from this extensive research. I named my website “Pathway to My Ancestry,” and so began the painstaking steps to build the site on the then existing “Live Spaces” platform. A few years into building the site, live spaces was drawing to closure, thereby necessitating me to find another platform to maintain my website. Hence, I found WordPress, and so here I am, and hopefully, will continue to be! In the interim, I had to transfer whatever was transferable to the new website, and decided to change the title of my blog to

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

Italian Harlem

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…

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CALL FOR VINTAGE PHOTOS! KEEPING MEMORIES ALIVE on ItalianHarlem.com!

Italian Harlem

ALTHOUGH THE “HALCYON DAYS” OF EAST HARLEM ARE LONG GONE,PLEASE HELP ME KEEP THE MEMORY ALIVE, OF WHAT LIFE ONCE WAS IN OUR OLD NEIGHBORHOOD!

SEND ME YOUR PHOTOS! I WILL POST THEM ON ITALIANHARLEM.COM! I WILL POST THEM IN MEMORY OF YOUR ANCESTORS…JUST MENTION YOUR FAMILY NAME, AND IT SHALL BE DONE!

EMAIL YOUR PHOTOS TO: italianharlem@gmail.com

THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR MEMORIES!

Angela Bella Puco

SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF ITALIAN HARLEM! SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF ITALIAN HARLEM!

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An East Harlem Scene from “The Godfather”: Sonny Corleone(James Caan) beats up his brother-in-law Carlo(Gianni Russo.)

Italian Harlem

The Godfather Movie:Click on this link to view YouTube video-  Sonny Corleone(James Caan) beats up his brother-in-law Carlo(Gianni Russo.)

In this scene from The Godfather, James Caan seeks revenge for the unmerciful beating of his pregnant sister, Connie Rizzi. He heads for East Harlem’s E. 118th Street, to brutally beat up his wife-beating brother-in-law Carlo Rizzi(played by Gianni Russo.)

The scene was filmed on the 500 block of East 118th Street. My family and I lived there before this movie was filmed. The stoop that Carlo(wearing an orange and tan suit) is standing on-before he attempts to run from crazed Sonny, is 503 East 118th Street.

 Note of Trivia: Most of the principal photography took place from March 29, 1971 to August 6, 1971, although a scene with Pacino and Keaton was shot in the autumn. There were a total of 77 days of shooting, fewer than the…

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An Italian Harlem Notable: Anthony Ravielli- Renowned Illustrator.

Italian Harlem

Anthony (Tony) Ravielli (1 Jul 1916–9 Jan 1997) was born in Italian Harlem. He attended the Textile High School, taught himself anatomy by volunteering at the Bellvue Hospital morgue, and later studied at the Cooper Union and Art Students League. He began his career as a portrait painter, went into advertising, and by the early 1950s had become an author and freelance illustrator. By this time he had mastered what would become his signature medium–the scratchboard (or scraperboard, if your British). His spare, elegant, and remarkably accurate illustrations still stand today as some of the best examples of the medium.

ImageBut Ravielli would be forever linked with golf, a sport especially in need of instruction. In 1957 Hogan approached Ravielli to illustrate a five part series titled the “The Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf.” The result, which was quickly turned into a book, would become, perhaps, the most…

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As I add salt to the boiling water, in a small way, I am also “reconnecting” to my Italian Harlem heritage…Rao’s sauce is my favorite macaroni sauce-bar none! There, I said it…macaroni! Shall I say gravy? Sure, why not! ;-)


Secrets of Mt. Rushmore: The Great Italian-American Master Sculptor, Luigi Del Bianco

Italian Harlem

Douglas Gladstone

Luigi Del Bianco in Gutzon Borglum's studio at Mount Rushmore with the models for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Notice the torso and full dress on Washington; Borglum had originally planned to make Rushmore more than just the four faces, but lack of funding, skilled laborers and faulty rock precluded that. (Photo courtesy of Del Bianco Family Collection) Luigi Del Bianco in Gutzon Borglum’s studio at Mount Rushmore with the models for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Notice the torso and full dress on Washington; Borglum had originally planned to make Rushmore more than just the four faces, but lack of funding, skilled laborers and faulty rock precluded that. (Photo courtesy of Del Bianco Family Collection)

It’s a 1,727 mile drive from Italian Harlem, New York – between Pleasant Avenue to the east, First Avenue to the west, East 114th Street to the south and East 120th Street to the north — to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, in Keystone, South Dakota. If you’re taking I-80 and I-90 westbound you can do the trip in just under 25 hours. 


There’s no way to do the trip faster, just as to date, there hasn’t been a way to bridge the gap that exists between the United States Department…

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UPDATE on ITALIAN MASTER CARVER, LUIGI DEL BIANCO: MOUNT RUSHMORE FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED LUIGI DEL BIANCO!

NEWSFLASH: THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HAS FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT LUIGI DEL BIANCO WAS, IN FACT, THE CHIEF CARVER OF MOUNT RUSHMORE!!!

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.

WON’T YOU TAKE A SECOND TO CLICK ON THE FACEBOOK LINK BELOW  AND “LIKE” LUIGI’S PHOTO? Thank you! 

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

https://www.facebook.com/146142078740561/photos/a.790675327620563.1073741828.146142078740561/1129406293747463/?type=3&theater

WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED ON OUR FINAL PUSH TO GET LUIGI RECOGNIZED AT MOUNT RUSHMORE. WE ARE ALMOST THERE! THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

Douglas Gladstone

http://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9781599540672/carving-a-niche-for-himself-the-untold-story-of-luigi-del-bianco-and-mount-rushmore.aspx