You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 28, 2005

schmittle italy

Filed under: Schenectady Synecdoche,viewpoint — David Giacalone @ 11:27 pm

If you name it (and spruce up a little), they will come.”

…………………………. metroplexicus

LittleItalyLN Little Italy, Schenectady, NY [original image here]

I‘m sure there are some Schenectadians who think my musings about the local Metroplex Development Authority (as in the post local schmocal) manifest a certain lack of civic trust and hope. So, I thought I’d show my ethnic pride and tell you a little bit about our Little Italy — “La Piccola Italia” — which is one long block called North Jay Street, about half a mile from my home. (Click for Metroplex’s Little Italy General Project Plan.)


  • North Jay Street was once the home of a thriving Italian immigrant population. The children of those immigrants long ago joined the Brain Drain out of Schenectady County, or have moved to the City’s suburbs. A handful of the original immigrants may, along with their devoted offspring, survive on the block. However, I have never seen any signs of life at the remaining half dozen residences.
  • Two years ago, the first prong in the Metroplex plan to “support an Italian heritage neighborhood” came to fruition, when Cornell’s Restaurant moved its venerable and successful operation from another section of Schenectady to North Jay Street, thanks to almost $500,000 in Metroplex aid.
  • One beloved Jay Street bakery went out of business a few years ago. wine
  • The image shown above is the newly completed Little Italy streetscape, crowned by imposing entryway columns, and financed with a $750,000 Metroplex grant.
  • You can find a number of articles about our Little Italy here.

There are no other projects planned yet for Little Italy. Having told you about all there is to know about Metroplex’s Little Italy Project to date, I have two True or False questions for you:

  1. After moving one restaurant to North Jay Street, Little Italy now boasts the following “Italian heritage” enterprises: One restaurant; one bakery; one spumoni shop.
  2. The other business addresses on North Jay Street include: two auto body shops, one boarded-up former strip club (previously a boarded-up Fire Station); one funeral home; one empty, former gay bar; and, at the far corner, a biker bar (called the Saw Mill; no Vespas in sight).

Bonus question: True or False: The owners of the spumoni shop are trying to sell their business and building but may be asking too much money (hey, this is Little Italy!).

p.s. You, too, should feel proud, as your federal tax dollars are also helping to develop our Italian-heritage neighborhood. (Which reminds me of that great “walk-a proud!” joke about Joe DiMaggio.) Think hard and find the answers below.


Answers (you peeked!!). 1) True; 2) True; Bonus: True

Inspired yet? Our local newspaper had some suggestions for Metroplex in a recent editorial (Daily Gazette, “City needs to be aggressive in creating Little Italy,” Feb. 12, 2005, reprinted here at #4)

  • If you happen to be in the region — checking out, for instance, the lovely Little Italy 20 miles away in Troy, NY, come on over to Schenectady’s La Piccola Italia.
  • update (May 29, 2005): scroll down the page to read about Chutzpah in Little Italy.

by dagosan:

mom serves
grandma’s recipes —
Christmas Eve calamari

……………………………. [Dec. 24, 2004]

under nana’s afghan –
dreaming homemade
bread and meatballs

…………………………………. [Nov 30, 2004]

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress