A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from July 18, 2004
Little Italy
There's more than one Little Italy in New York City, and the name is not reserved for New York's alone.


Wikipedia: Little Italy, Manhattan
Little Italy is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, New York City, once known for its large population of Italians. Today the neighborhood consists of only a few Italian stores and restaurants.[2] It is bounded on the west by Tribeca and Soho, on the south by Chinatown, on the east by the Bowery and Lower East Side, and on the north by Nolita.

21 October 1886, New York (NY) Times, pg. 8:
The Italian colony dwelling in "Little Italy," the territory extending from One Hundred and Tenth to One Hundred and Twelfth street and from Firstto Second avenues, was greatly excited yesterday over the killing of Antonio Cignarale, a stone mason, by his wife.

17 November 1901, New York (NY) World, pg. 9, col. 3:
PICTURESQUE 'LITTLE ITALY' AND ITS PEOPLE
"LITTLE ITALY" in Harlem does not bear any resemblance to the Italian quarters in Mulberry street, Macdougal street, or any of the other Latin quarters in the older part of the city. The section which boasts the name in Harlem lies between Third avenue and the East River and runs from One Hundred and Twelfth street to One Hundred and Sixteenth street.


Jesse Sheidlower, the North American editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, found these two:

a1938 J. Mitchell in _My Ears are Bent_ II. ii. 38 If the war isbetween Italy and Ethiopia, for instance, the idea is "How do theItalians in New York City feel about the war?" When a reporter isassigned to such a story he goes on a hurried tour of the ginmills inthe nearest Italian neighborhood (Mulberry Street if he works for The World-Telegram and Harlem's Little Italy if he works for The Herald Tribune).

a1938 J. Mitchell in _My Ears are Bent_ VII. iii. 225 Strife over the Mussolini program split the Italians in the country into factions and precipitated murders and bombings and civil wars in a hundred LittleItalys.


"In Little Italy" is the photo caption for a story "Old Wine in New Bottles," about San Francisco's Italian population, in Sunset magazine, June 1913, volume 30, page 524.

24 December 1946, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 15, col. 7: "The little Italys of the city hum with holiday spirit."


Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Sunday, July 18, 2004 • Permalink