With a beautiful selection of pictures, The New York Times reminds its readers how life in Little Italy was like in the early- and mid-20th century.
All these pictures are taken from the banners (seven and a half feet tall, five feet wide) that Monsignor Donald Sakano has placed near St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, trying to bring Italian habits and festivals back to their roots, "and away from what he sees as a crass, commercial use of stereotypes of Italian-Americans".
"I find that to be magical," he said. "You look at these figures and you're drawn into them and you wonder about the moment that occurred before and after the shutter froze their features on a piece of film."
"Italian-Americans are often represented in the broadest caricatures ?" whether undereducated, bigoted people from the outer boroughs who are overly concerned with their own body image or, of course, the ubiquitous Mafioso image," Monsignor Sakano added. "There's very little room in the media for an interesting and nuanced depiction."