September 1, 2016

To the Champion of Champions

“The Brockton Blockbuster”
Photo courtesy of
Marciano the Undefeated
By Niccolò Graffio
“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” — Jack Dempsey
During the time our people have spent living here in America, a number of figures, both real and imagined, have risen from our ranks to achieve icon status. These figures in turn helped to inspire future generations, either for good or bad. Of all of them, one of the most popular and enduring is the fictional boxer Robert “Rocky” Balboa, created and portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky series of movies (1976-2006).
The saga of “Rocky” Balboa (as told in the original movie, Rocky) is the story of a man of Italian heritage, born of humble origins in the slums of Philadelphia, PA, who through sheer force of will plus back-breaking labor (in the form of training) manages to rise up from his lowly background and find himself facing the champion of the world in the ring. Though he loses the climactic final match, in the process he earns accolades and respect from his peers, plus a begrudging respect from his superiors (personified by boxing champ Apollo Creed). Continue reading

Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George to Participate in the 9th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Also see:
Announcing the 9th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

New Books (September 2016)

Some new and forthcoming titles that may be of interest to our readers. All are available at

Roger of Sicily and the Normans in Lower Italy by Edmund Curtis

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: July 7, 2016
Paperback: $12.95
Language: English
Pages: 358

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Vico's New Science of the Intersubjective World by Vittorio Hösle

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Hardcover: $60.00
Language: English
Pages: 280

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Giambattista Vico and the New Psychological Science by Luca Tateo

Publisher: Transaction Publishers
Publication Date: November 30, 2016
Paperback: $79.95
Language: English
Pages: 245

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Click here to see more books

August 31, 2016

Evviva San Rocco! A Look at the 2016 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens

Evviva San Rocco!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
On Saturday, August 27th we celebrated the Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens. Thank you President Vincenzo Carpinelli and all the members of Societá Gioventú Quagliettana for your hard work and dedication. As always, it was a great pleasure to be a part of your special day. Special thanks to Tina and Gerardo Carpinelli for your extraordinary warmth and hospitality. I was deeply touched to have been chosen to be a gift bearer (I've never had the privilege before) and bring forward the wine during the offertory. This remarkable honor added another fantastic memory to the already memorable day. Evviva San Rocco!
Flags and standard added pomp and pageantry to the celebration 
(Above & below) The procession makes its way to Saint Joseph's Church
(Above & below) Devotees carry votive candles
Young ladies carry offerings for the church
Children learning to love their cultural traditions
Rev. Cesar Peña and Rev. Vincent F. Miceli with the relic of St. Rocco
Outside the church, ladies pray and sing devotional hymns to San Rocco
(Left) The statue is carried into St. Joseph's for Mass.
(Right) The statue is placed beside the altar
After celebrating Mass, participants depart from the church
(Above & below) The procession heads back to the clubhouse
(Above & below) Members take turns carrying the candle house (cinte)
A good time was had by all
Michael Aromando and The Metropolitan Festival Band
(Above & below) Back at the clubhouse ladies sing a hymn to San Rocco
Also see:
A Look at the 2015 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2015 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2014 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2014 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Congratulations Societá Gioventú Quagliettana — Serving Our Community Since 1911
A Look at the 2013 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
A Look at the 2013 Festa di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Pix from the 2012 Fiaccolata di San Rocco in Astoria, Queens
Enjoying the 2012 Sagra di Fusilli (Festival of Fusilli) with The Societá Gioventú Quagliettana of Queens, New York
A Look at the 2012 Festa di San Rocco in Queens
Fiaccolata di San Rocco, 2011

They Called Him “Thunder Arm”

Henri de Tonti: the "Father" of Arkansas
Henri de Tonti
By Niccoló Graffio
“A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” – William Penn: Fruits of Solitude, 1693
In writing (or reading) the history of these United States one should be immediately cognizant of the marked differences involved in the founding of this country as opposed to those across the Big Pond. The Europeans who laid the foundations for what was to eventually become the United States of America originated in many cases from countries that were carved from the ruins of the old Roman Empire. In other cases the countries were created by peoples who were indirectly, but nevertheless strongly, influenced by contacts with the civilization of the Romans. 
In either case, all these areas of Europe were heavily populated with sedentary peoples at the time the first European settlers decided to head for North America. What awaited them upon their arrival was a completely different world; a world which, for starters, was much less populated than the one from which they left. The peoples who lived there were a hodge-podge of various tongues and ethnicities who lived a much more primitive existence than the Europeans who would become their conquerors. Today many of those who subscribe to the doctrine of “political correctness” may chafe at the mention of that word, but in the context of the times it is undeniably correct. Continue reading

August 30, 2016

Evviva Santa Rosalia! A Look at the 41st Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Evviva Santa Rosalia!
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Thanks to Santa Rosalia Committee Chairman Enzo Venuto and organizers, President Lucrezia Nardulli and members of Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata, and all the participants for making this year's feast a huge success. Evviva Santa Rosalia!
(Left) Enzo Venuto, Lucrezia Nardulli, Frank Naccarato, this year's Grand Marshal Carlo Lauricella, Angelo Timoneri and friends with our beloved patroness. (Right) Efforts were made to raise money for the earthquake victims in Italy
God bless the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata for their continuous support and dedication to our community. I'm proud to be a member!
Sunday's procession makes its way down 18th Avenue
Members of the Associazione Culturale Pugliese Figli Maria SS. Addolorata carry a banner promoting their Feast at St. Athanasius Church on September 11th
The color guard show their enthusiasm  
(Above and Below) A sea of black and gold lined Bay Ridge Parkway
Devotees sing and pray as they march
President Lucrezia Nardulli with Gabriella Parente
and Vice President Josephine DiDonna
(Above and below) It was great to see so many children
participate in this year's procession
(Left) This lucky fella had the best seat in the house.
(Right) Vittoria Cirigliano, Regina Figli Maria SS. Addolorata
Participants gather at St. Dominic's Church (2001 Bay Ridge Pkwy) for Mass
Proud Nonna Lucy Spata (Left) and Grand Marshal Carlo Lauricella (Right) surrounded by some of their many admirers 
(Left) Newly restored statue on float with flowers.
(Right) During Mass the statue is placed beside the altar
The Metropolitan Festival Band
The bandiera del Regno delle Due Sicilie catches the breeze
Special thanks to Villabate Alba Pasticceria for providing refreshments for the marchers. Every year they go above and beyond with their generosity
I enjoyed a classic Arancini (rice ball) and...
...a cannoli, a Villabate Alba specialty
Afterward, Lucrezia, Oronzo and I joined Pio and Joe for some wine and sfincione outside Caffe Italia (6921 18th Avenue)
Also see:
Recharging at the 41st Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Evviva Santa Rosalia! Scenes From the 40th Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Back For More: Scenes From the 40th Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Back For Seconds: Scenes From the 40th Anniversary Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at the 2015 Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
A Look at the 39th Annual Festa di Santa Rosalia, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at the 2014 Santa Rosalia Feast, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
A Look at the 2013 Feast of Santa Rosalia in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Opening Night at 'The Feast'
It's Back! The Santa Rosalia Feast Returns to Bensonhurst
The Twilight of the Feast
The Feast of Santa Rosalia (18th Ave Feast)

Knight Without Fear and Without Reproach

Giuseppe Petrosino - a true “supercop”
Lt. Joe Petrosino, NYCPD, Badge #285
Photo courtesy of
By Niccolò Graffio
“When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death – this is heroism.” — R.G. Ingersoll: Speech in New York, May 29, 1882
Growing up, like many American-born boys, I was enamored with tales of superheroes, men with “powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men” who used their powers in the fight against evil. The names of these fictitious heroes no doubt would ring a bell with many who are reading this article: Superman, Spiderman, Thor and Daredevil, to name just a few. To a young boy like me it was exhilarating to read of the exploits of these people in comic books, even if in the back of my mind I knew they didn’t really exist (except in the world of imagination). Of all of them, my favorite was always Batman.
Why Batman, you say? Simple: unlike the others, Batman wasn’t blessed with extraordinary powers no real human could possess. True, he was highly intelligent, very athletic and a capable fighter, but nothing about Batman (except perhaps, some of the technology he utilized) was out of the realm of the possible. In short, Batman was a “normal human.” I guess then you could say he was my favorite because I could most identify with him. Continue reading

Photo of the Week: The Farnese Atlas

The Farnese Atlas is a 2nd-century Roman copy of a Hellenistic sculpture of the Titan burdened with a celestial sphere. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

August 29, 2016

A Look at the 90th Annual Feast of Saint Sebastian in Montclair, New Jersey

Evviva San Sebastiano Martire!
Photos courtesy of Joe Santoro
Thank you Joe for sharing your wonderful photos from Sunday’s Feast of Saint Sebastian at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Montclair, New Jersey. Evviva San Sebastiano Martire!
After Mass, St. Sebastian is placed on the ornate vara
Outside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
Sadly, the beautiful church is scheduled to close on Friday, July 1st
and merge with the Church of the Immaculate Conception
There was a tremendous turnout for St. Sebastian
Devotees offer the Saint large devotional candles
Our friends from the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Fraternal Society
and St. Joseph Society of Lodi, New Jersey show their support
Donations are pinned on to the Saint
Our pal Ennio celebrating his beloved patron
A devotee displays the relic of St. Sebastian
After the procession, Fr. Joe gave a final blessing inside the clubhouse
A close up of the statue