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ITALIAN WOMAN BUYING FISH AT THE CORNER OF MULBERRY AND HESTER STREETS,
NEW YORK and Cordova they possess vast estates, now reside within the limits of the Greater from which they export great quantities New York. Even this, however, gives our of grain and over 30,000,000 gallons of city an Italian-speaking population of wine annually.
160,000—about that of Venice, and more Extensive immigration to the United than one-third that of Rome itself. States from Italy is a recent phenomenon. The story of New York Italian life asks Thus, from 1860 to 1870 but 12,000 of a chapter by itself. The two great secthese people arrived here, while the total tions of Manhattan practically surrendered of those coming since 1890 amounts to to these people include some thirty blocks over 1,000,000. As this includes those lying between One Hundredth and One who have returned from the United States Hundred and Fifteenth Streets, and exto Italy and are now coming hither for a tending from Second Avenue to the river. second or third time, it would be more Downtown they occupy all the district correct to place the number of new arrivals lying between Centre Street and the from Italian ports at 750,000, while the Bowery, from Pearl to Bleecker, and to total Italian-speaking population of our the west the whole length of Thompson, country, including children born here, McDougall, and Sullivan Streets. The cannot be less than 1,200,000.
Bleecker and Spring Street Italians are It is demonstrable, however, that not mainly from northern Italy, while the more than twelve per cent. of this number uptown colony is chiefly from Calabria. Then Brooklyn has no less than nine dis- must be with friends and relatives who tricts of Italian population, the two largest have already acquired a foothold. But of which lie at opposite extremes of the perhaps a deeper reason is the strong borough. One of these, in South Brooklyn, attachment which most of them possess includes Van Brunt and Columbia Streets, for the ways and customs of their own with portions of Hicks, Carroll, President, land. Whatever the reason, one often L'nion, Sackett, and Degraw Streets, finds several adjoining houses occupied while the Williamsburg group embraces exclusively by people from the same disnearly half of the Seventeenth Ward. trict. Thus, in Elizabeth Street, ManHow many Brooklynites realize that their hattan, once a fashionable section of the borough has a larger Italian population city, there is to-day a group of several than Lucca or Pisa, famous for a thou hundred families from Sciacca, a Sicilian sand years in the history of art?
fishing town forty miles east of Girgenti, Why do these people group themselves the famous Acragas of Empedocles, where so closely together? One cause of this still stand the ruins of several of the most is the dependent condition of those arriv- perfect Greek temples in the world. These ing here with no knowledge of our lan- people, living closely together, employ the guage. If they are to obtain work, they Sciaccan dialect, possess Sciaccan doctors and a Sciaccan pharmacy, and prepare splendid works. Already ten daily or weekly resplendent festas in honor of “ Maria Italian sheets are published in New York S. S. del Soccorso Protettrice della Citta City. The most important of these are de Sciacca.” Then there are over 130 Ital- the “Il Progresso,” “Il Bollettina della ian mutual aid societies in New York City, Sera,"and" L'Avaldo." The “Rassegna” most of them composed mainly of natives is a high-class literary review, and the of a single Italian province, the name of character of the “ Revista Commerciale" which they bear. Thus the Calabrians is indicated by its name. sustain the “ Society of the Tre Calabrie;" While the Italian peasants are great and the membership of other bodies is workers, those who come to us from constituted respectively by the “ Cittadini Naples seem peculiarly fond of noisy Napoletani,” “ Cittadini Padulesi," “ Cits diversions. Certainly they exercise their tadini Avellinese," etc. However, there gifts in this direction extensively. Nearly are organizations more distinctively Ameri- all the Italian societies give festivals ancan, as the “ Columbia Democratic Union,” nually, generally during the summer, and the “ Italian Republican Club," or, best these have been accompanied of late by of all, the “ Society of the Cittadini Ameri- such a racket of fireworks and bursting cani.” As a rule, the Italians of New petards as to render them a public nuiYork value their citizenship and vote on sance. Frequently great wooden and pasteelection day. sides, and the object is to knock out as ance in this country. Working all day many times as possible the opponent's ball among those using only their own dialect, and secure the largest number of points. they often go for years without acquiring It is mainly a game of skill. A less rep more than a few English words. The utable game, in which skill is also essen- brightest young men enter the public tial, is played in many saloons of the baser night-schools as soon as a speaking acsort. It is called Morra, and consists in quaintance with the language is formed. Ainging down the hand violently and at Indeed, the public night-school already the same time extending one or more of furnishes a few Italian-speaking teachers the fingers and shouting the number of for the benefit of these people. But there fingers extended, this constituting a chal- is a large margin of uncovered territory to lenge to other members of the group, who be occupied by settlement workers. The duplicate the movement as accurately as Children's Aid Society maintains three possible. If any one fails in accuracy, he large and crowded Italian schools in loses. The impetuous character of the con- Manhattan, of which that on Leonard testants, however, frequently leads to threat Street, with 600 scholars, is the oldest ening altercations and occasional serious and best equipped. Brooklyn, on the results. On this account this game is other hand, has but a single Italian subject to a general prohibition in Italian settlement house, still inadequately supcities. Many Italians have an unfortu- ported, and forced constantly to appeal nate passion for games of chance, which to the public for aid. It is something has, no doubt, been strengthened by former that public-spirited men in the Borough indulgence in the national Banco Lotto at of Churches should look to. home. The holding of raffles for bicycles, The trades and occupations of New sewing-machines, gold watches, etc., is York Italians are various, so that there is common, and the successful numbers in slight excuse for the query put by a uniwhat are practically lottery drawings are versity man who, noting the dark-featured published in the Italian dailies.
board shrines are erected on the sidewalk The sons of Italy, wherever found, are and the streets are arched with lines of fond of music and outdoor life ; and in Chinese lanterns. In a recent Elizabeth New York they enjoy both of these luxuries Street festa great wire brackets arched when the band plays in Mulberry Bend the street at intervals of one hundred feet Park. Then they pour forth from a hun- for a quarter of a mile, and huge painted dred tenements (owned mainly by Italian candles, eight to ten feet in height, and landlords), and stand listening in rapt costing from five to ten dollars apiece, delight by the hour to the strains of “I were presented by the wealthier families Trovatore," etc. At least one member of to the Madonna. Boys dressed in gauze each family has some musical gift; and a and gilt, and arranged with wings attached violin hung on the kitchen wall may prove to their shoulders to represent angels, the love of melody no less than the grand were suspended in mid-air over the heads square in a West Side drawing-room. of admiring crowds. An interesting feaItalians possess, too, an inherited passion ture of these occasions, especially when for literature, so that it is not strange, held in the parks, is the baptism of the even while we have a large illiterate Ital society banner, usually a handsome and ian immigration, to find book-stalls and costly piece of embroidered silk fringed small libraries on almost every block with gold and richly ornamented. about the Bend. Of course a good deal There are several Italian theaters in of trash is sold. There are comic sheets Manhattan, where light comedies, heroic and Neapolitan dialect love songs by the tragedies, and dialect plays are presented. score, and innumerable tragic or amorous Some of these theaters are maintained in novelettes by Carolina Invernizio and the rear of saloons, and in the cheaper other popular writers. But with these ones marionettes take the place of paid is a solid body of the noblest literature actors. In a Broome Street theater fairly in the world. Alfieri, Manzoni, Giusti, good plays are presented, and occasionTasso, Ariosto, Petrarch, and Dante are ally the People's Bowery Theater is hired read by every one who can read at all. by the week by a first-class troupe. As popular as these are Silvia Pellico's Apart from their festas, New York Ital" Mie Prigioni,” and “Cuore ” by De ians seem to take little outdoor diversion. Amicis. Nothing, indeed, is more notable One of their games, “ Pallone,” is played than the fervent interest of young Italians with a large inflated leather ball beaten in their great history and the fame and about very much as in our football games. works of their writers. There is a force Boccia is also played in scores of back of enthusiasm, a power of imagination yards. In this game heavy wooden balls and sentiment, latent in these people that are thrown or rolled on the ground to a must again in a free land be fruitful of given point; a number of men play, taking
venders patrolling the streets with pushThe Italian churches of New York are carts, asked, “Why do all Italians deal mainly attended by women, but few of the in bananas?” In reply it may be said men being enthusiastic over the work of that the push-cart men of lower Broadway the priests. The most important of these and Wall Street are nearly all Greeks, churches is that of St. Anthony of Padua on most of the Italian dealers in fruit now Sullivan Street, ministered to by Anacletus having stands or stores of their own. But de Angelis, with four assistants. Its parish- to-day there are in Manhattan some 2,300 ioners number 8,000, and it holds property Italians devoted to the trade of St. Crispin ; valued at $400,000. Near by on Bleecker 1,300 who deal in cheese and groceries ; Street is the Italian church of Our Lady 1,500 tailoring-shops and 3,000 barberof Pompeii, while that of Our Lady of shops; a total of 500 butchers and bakers, Loretto, is where many miracles have oc- and as many more who keep saloons ; 200 curred,” numbers more than 12,000 sup- tobacconists; and over 600 who keep fruitporters. Our Lady the Queen of the stores. Angels is another church on East One We have spoken of our metropolitan Hundred and Thirteenth Street. The Italians only, but New York State conlargest Protestant body of Italians in the tains outside of the city nearly half as city is that under the leadership of Dr. A. many as reside within its limits. It may Arrighi, of the Broome Street Tabernacle, be said, indeed, that there is scarcely a who has labored almost twenty years in growing town or city from Plattsburg to this field.
Chautauqua which lacks a group, and Education is of course necessary before frequently a good-sized group, of these any Italian can thoroughly appreciate the people. Buffalo heads the list with an rights and duties of American citizenship, Italian population of 13,800; and if we and the educational problem for Italian include those who live at Geneva, Batavia, immigrants is a serious one. Many boys North Collins, Fredonia, etc., the total and young men arrive at Ellis Island at number in that section is about 22,000. an age which enables them to escape Great numbers work on the Lehigh Valley army service at home and school attend- railroad; 400 are engaged in a single