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BROOKLYN MEMORIES..THE ITALIANS
Brooklyn Eagle circa 1940-45.
"Editor, Old Timers:
'Only recently, I noticed laborers covering Trolley car rails with asphalt
and this brought back memories. How many people recall the days when
so many men of Italian origin laid trolley rails along many streets
when they worked for the old B.R.T.?
Came noon time and they would knock off on a very hot day and after seating
themselves on the sidewalk under an awning, they would undo their packages
of lunch and wash their lunches down with a bottle of beer, milk or coffee.
'While a section of lower Manhattan has boasted of its Little Italy, we had
ours here in Brooklyn along the waterfront where many God fearing Italians
lived at peace among their neighbors, Irish, Scotch, German and Jewish.
'Many Italians who lived on Van Brunt, Carroll, President, Sackett, DeGraw Sts,
and in the neighboring vicinity worked hard and raised fine families.
Many readers of the Eagle and the Old Timers Column knew many of them,
so with the Editor's kind permission, I should like very much to go back
over the years.
'How many Old Timers recall ZAGARELL'S small grocery on Sackett St., which
was just above old Beach Place? How about CASTRUCCIO'S, the importing house
at 66 Sackett St., MANZELLA'S wine and liquor store at the corner of Van Brunt
and Sackett Sts.? Mr. MANZELLA, a distinguished looking gentleman, wore
a goatee and always carried a cane.
'Just above MAIR'S Wallpaper Factory was Vanacore, the plumber, and up the
street and still there at l20 Sackett Street after many, many years is
John SNOOK'S with his old fashioned candy and stationery store. John's
brother Arthur who was with him for many years, died some years ago.
'Let us turn into Columbia St. and as we pass SCOTTO'S Bank, we look across at
MONTELEONE'S pastry shop and see SESSA'S Bank on the corner of Union St. As
we walk down Union St. in the direction of Van Brunt St., we think of the fine
Pizzas so many Old Timers ate in Jerry MARINO'S Pizza shop.
'We pass the home where the SABBAINO family lived for many years and Balsamo's
fish market. As we near the waterfront we think of Auditore, the once famous
stevedore. Recall Jimmy AUDITORE who was on the Police Department and
who left to go into the stevedoring business. Jimmy AUDITORE and the late
Jimmy WALKER palled around together.
"How about the AJELLO Brothers who were in business for many years on
Remember Frank SESSA, the undertaker at 128 Hamilton Ave.?
Three sons followed in his footsteps, Louis, Joe and Anthony. Lou passed
on some time ago.
Recall Louis FAIELLA, the undertaker at 147 Van Brunt St. who used to take
such a great interest in the street feasts down there? His sons
carried on the business and as we pass 147 Union Street, we notice that
Joe PASTORE is still carrying on his mortuary business where his good father
the later Gennaro PASTORE kept for many years.
'Before we leave that neighborhood, we think of the once famous SAVARESE
Macaroni Company, Scala the hatter and Buono's drug store on Henry St.
'As we come to Clinton Street, we think of the late Judge Mike DITORE and the
late Mike LAURA and the late Dr. LONGO, a highly respected physician who lived
on Clinton St. for many years. Another Old Timer is still going strong in the
person of Dr. MANZELLA, who is on Clinton St., between Kane and DeGraw Sts.
'As we reach Court St., we think of Joe D'ESPOSITO who kept the Royal Scarlet
Market between Sackett and Union Sts. With his brother Mike. Joe it will be
remembered, married a fine looking Irish girl who was on the household staff of
the late Dr. James DOWNEY who lived at Clinton and Sackett Sts.
We pause for a moment and we think of the fine DeMARTINO family who lived for
many years on 3rd Place. John, former deputy inspector in the Police Department
is now retired.
"His brother Ralph, who was an acting captain in the Police Department went on
to his eternal rest on August 8th last.
'Another brother, Joe, is now a retired member of the Fire Department after
having served many years at 202 Engine, at Van Brunt and Seabring Sts, where
he was a lieutenant.
'On Smith Street, near Union St., there still stands FUMARA'S fruit and grocery store,
one of the oldest of its kind in Brooklyn and still run by the same family after many,
many years and as we look back near Sackett St., we think of the late Frank MASTROTA,
the shoemaker who raised a fine family and whose dear wife was a friend to any and
all neighbors in need.
'Yes, so many of those people who left the sunny shores of Italy did much to help
make America a better place in which to live.
JAMES A. MANNIX. 1203 8TH Ave.'"
Credit for the writing the article goes to a man named James A. Mannix, l203 8th Avenue.
Transcriber: Marie Scotto
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