November 19, 2015

Dyker Heights' Neapolitan Nativity

John Miniero’s latest acquisitions from Via San Gregorio Armeno in Naples 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
It’s that time of year again when local artisan John Miniero builds his annual outdoor presepio in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn (14th Avenue, between 79th and 80th Streets). The Neapolitan Christmas tradition has been a neighborhood favorite for many years and continues to astonish onlookers with its whimsy and complexity. 
I met up with Mr. Miniero this week as he was putting the finishing touches on his magical crèche and I was not disappointed. With its teeming scenes of life in 18th century Naples and many secretive nooks and crannies, the sprawling diorama truly is a wonder to behold. I can’t thank John enough for taking the time from his busy schedule to show me around his workshop and pointing out some of the new details from this year’s masterpiece.
The Magi set up camp next to the manger
Mr. Miniero recreates Piazza Tasso in his native Sorrento, including the famed Chiesa della Madonna del Carmine with working clock in the bell tower
The central part of the tableau
Devotee praying in a grotto with dripping water
A vendor roasting chestnuts
Mr. Miniero shows us some of his more modest creations
Some unused treasures
Presepi were everywhere
A wonder to behold