Little Italy used to be the real thing…authentic. A place where Italian-Americans actually use to live.
I remember my grandparents telling me that Little Italy itself was split into smaller communities.
Mulberry Street was home to the settlers from Campania and Naples, Elizabeth Street was strictly Sicilian, Mott Street held the Calabresi, while most of the people north of Mott came from Bari.
But that’s all long gone. Now as everyone knows, Little Italy has been singled down to one single Street…Mulberry.
The reason why I am doing this article was not to talk about Little Italy’s demise but to remember what it used to be when it actually was a Little Italy.
Toward the end of 2019, I took a walk straight up Mulberry Street for its entire length, which I had never previously done.
Both of my grandparents are Italian immigrants. Neither had ever lived in Little Italy. Nonetheless, from a distance, I felt a visceral attraction to the neighborhood.
What caught my eye, in particular, was a building on the Southeast corner of Grand and Mulberry.
On the wall inside 191, Grand St. is a piece of history that still exists. A list of surnames of the original (or early residents) of the building.
For some with Italian ancestry, Little Italy still holds a dear place in their hearts.
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