These city genes of mine…

September 24, 2012

I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with Manhattan. Besides class trips with school, my parents began bringing my sister and I into the city for family outings when we were young. We saw Broadway plays in the middle of blizzards, visited the dinosaurs and ancient civilizations at the museum, and witnessed breathtaking views of the skyline from the top of the World Trade Center, Empire State Building, and Lady Liberty’s crown. And to think, all of this, just a short ferry ride away from my Staten Island home.

One year my parents decided to bring us to Greenwich Village during Easter weekend. The area was a familiar one to my parents, as their parents and relatives lived, worked, and shopped along many of the small, cobblestone streets. Our day-before-Easter city day included lunch at Trattoria Spaghetto (affectionately dubbed “The Green Place”) at the corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets and dessert at Pasticceria Rocco, from which we would bring home pastries by the boxful. Getting the sense of an Italian theme here?

So the tradition continued and so came the stories of past generations. My dad’s father was born on Carmine Street and worked at 375 Hudson St. for his entire career…My mother’s aunts lived in old brownstones on Perry and Charles Streets…Zito’s was where my grandfather would pick up a loaf of bread…My grandmother would go shopping on the Lower East Side…

As I grew up and began to hang out in the city with friends and coworkers, I was continually drawn to the Village, which remains my favorite area. Not just for the eclectic mix of restaurants and shops, but also for the electric, yet still cool and casual atmosphere. I guess you can say it’s in my blood.

Recently, a search on Ancestry.com led me to want to discover more about where and how my family members lived. With this blog, I want to retrace my family’s footsteps and discover what the city may have been like for them and compare it with what it is today.

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Please follow my blog and discover my elders’ city, and my city, with me.

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