Recording Italian-American History in Brooklyn and Beyond

Despite the fact that Italians have moved out of Bensonhurst in recent years, there are still signs of a vibrant Italian life, such as the Tribuzio Meat Market and the Congrega San Vito Do Ciminna Club on 18th Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Raymond Guarini via Brooklyn Reporter)

As Raymond Guarini, 38, watched the restaurants and stores he grew up around closing in the Bay Ridge area, he decided to start documenting these pieces of Italian-American history and culture. The website Italian Enclaves emerged, a project that doesn’t just capture life from before, through photos and audio, but that also serves as a news source, writes Paula Katinas in Brooklyn Reporter.

Italian Enclaves has a Facebook page and an Instagram that has been known to break news. The group’s Facebook page was the first to report the news that Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy in Bensonhurst would close. The school, which educated generations of children for 90 years, is slated to close in June.

Over the past six years, Guarini has visited approximately 75 Italian neighborhoods in big cities and small towns in the U.S.

Guarini, who is a member of the National Italian-American Foundation, is also trying to build a network of like-minded people interested in the Italian-American experience in America.

Bensonhurst, now home to a large Asian population, was considered the most prominent Italian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn. How did it become the home for so many in the community? Guarini traces the history of Italian immigration in the city and describes the the institutions and businesses around which an Italian-American community would grow. Read more at Brooklyn Reporter.

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