COLUMBUS DAY

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I haven’t spent much time in Norwood, Bronx over the years — it’s an interesting area that can now justifiably claim to be the new Little Italy, since the old Little Italy in SoHo has pretty much been absorbed by Chinatown.

Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailing under the Spanish flag in 1492, was looking for a passage to Asia but arrived in the Caribbean instead. The subsequent events, which resulted in the death and enslavement of thousands and the formation of a great democracy, can be debated as to which outweighs the other. I just carry a camera around the city taking pictures.

Columbus has retained a great reverence in American history; witness Columbus Circle and Avenue in Manhattan, Columbus, the capital of Ohio, and parades countrywide– and in the Italian-American community (re Cristoforo Colombo Avenue, or 18th Avenue, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn). You’re aware of the Columbus monument at Central Park West and 8th Avenue, but there’s another striking Columbian memorial on Arthur Avenue, at D’auria-Murphy Square, where East 183rd, East 184th, Crescent and Arthur Avenues all meet.

The park’s centerpiece is a statue of Christopher Columbus that was moved here in 1992 from P.S. 45 on Bathgate Avenue and Lorillard Place. It is the work of Attilio Piccirilli (1866-1945) whose world-renowned studios on 142nd Street and Willis Avenue produced the Maine Monument at Columbus Circle, completed in 1925, and the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. NYC Parks

The Piccirilli Brothers Studio in Mott Haven, Bronx [Place Matters]

10/11/11





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5 Responses to COLUMBUS DAY

  1. rich terra says:

    Yep….Columbus & the day set aside to acknowledge his accomplishments in discovering the New World gets a raw deal here also. Prior to the Columbus landing on these shores, enslavement & death was unheard of. What a traversty to mankind this nation called America is according to some & the ill fated journey of a man named Columbus was the seed that has sown death, enslavement & the ills of the world as it appears to manifest itself in some minds.

    But it is safe to castigate Columbus & Columbus Day. The Celebrate Diversity crowd becomes less celebratory for traditional events & instead decide to link certain noteworthy people to genocide, slavery & theft of the Garden of Eden all because some Italian white guy landed here.

  2. Andy Sparberg says:

    Great photo. You are right that this small Bronx neighborhood is very much a Little Italy in 2011. However, the neighborhood is known as Belmont, or is sometimes referred to as Arthur Avenue after the the best known street in the area, known for its excellent Italian restaurants. My wife and I stopped at one about two months ago and had an excellent dinner.
    .
    The singer Dion DiMucci hailed from this neighborhood and is well know for many hit records – both with the Belmonts (Teenager in Love), and solos (Donna the Prima Donna). I married a Donna from The Bronx, so I always have a soft spot for that song.

    Norwood is about two miles north, at the end of the D train at 205th Street and Bainbridge Avenue, adjacent to Montefiiore Hospital.

  3. Taphophile says:

    Thank you so much for this story!! I am familiar with the Christopher Columbus statue because we make the trek to Arthur Avenue when we want an authentic Italian- American experience. Yummy restaurants like Roberto’s and Domenic’s…the cheese shop and bakery….these places remind me of my childhood in East Boston. I was excited to learn the Christopher Columbus statue was a work from the Piccirilli studio. I first learned about the Piccirilli brothers when I saw their work in Woodlawn Cemetery. Passing the Columbus bust and the remarkable Maine monument mean so much more to me now that I know their history!

  4. John Lynch says:

    The area in the Bronx that is akin to Little Italy is called Belmont and is south of Fordham Road just east of Roosevelt High School. Norwood is the area the is bound by Mosholu Parkway, Woodlawn Cemetery, Jerome Avenue and the Bronx River.

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