August 22, 2014

Opening Night at the 2014 Santa Rosalia Feast, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

Evviva Santa Rosalia! 
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
As I have done so many times before (and hope to do for years to come), I dropped by 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn yesterday for the opening of The Feast of Santa Rosalia. Making my way through the crowd to the outdoor chapel, I pinned my donation on to the Saint’s ribbons and picked up some prayer cards for my loved-ones.
Afterward, I met a few friends and we reminisced about better days. It saddens me to see how much the neighborhood has changed. Aside from the occasional visit to Caffe Italia, Little Records and Villabate Alba Pasticceria, there is little reason for me to return to my old stomping grounds; although I still come back every year to support the Feast.
Checking out this year’s food options, I found myself going back to my usual spot—Villabate. In my humble opinion, they make one of the best rice balls in Brooklyn. With Gino’s Focacceria now closed I wasn’t sure where I would get my customary panelle or vastedda sandwiches, but luckily for me I spotted Pete’s Zeppoles stand on the corner of 18th Avenue and 71st Street. Perfectly fried, with a squeeze of lemon on a fresh seeded roll—their panelle was fantastic!
Too full for dessert, I now have an excuse (not that I really needed one) to come back and try Pete’s zeppole, not to mention Villabate’s brioche con gelato and an espresso at Caffe Italia.
The celebration will run through August 31st! 
There will be a Procession from the chapel (18th Avenue & 72nd Street) at 2 PM on Sunday, August 31st. Mass will be celebrated at Santa Rosalia Church (6301 14th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11219) at 4 PM.
Panelle sandwich (above) from Pete's Zeppoles stand (below)
Arancini from Villabate Alba Pasticceria
Sfincione from Villabate Alba Pasticceria 
There was a large turnout Thursday night