Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is everything that I value facing extinction?

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

The June 6 edition of the NY Times ran a piece about local response to a longstanding religious procession, honoring St. Cono, in Williamsburg. The piece, titled "Still Taking to the Streets to Honor Their Saints" described the different views of the procession from newcomers and oldtimers. Three examples:
“It used to be the whole street was waiting to give money,” recalled Lucy D’Alto, a longtime resident of Devoe Street. “We don’t see that now. They don’t understand. They see it as something superficial. They don’t respect us, all these young kids — artistes, whatever you call them.”

“It was a tiny parade, and they shut down Graham Avenue?” said Mr. Tocco, 26, an actor. “There was one float and a horrible marching band. It was very ironic. The Latino parades are more festive.”
"Which is not to say the newcomers do not relate to saints, just in a different way. Inside an old storefront, Jack Szarapka was going over preparations for a juice bar he was about to open. In one window, a statute of St. Francis Xavier towered over a patch of wheatgrass.

The statue, he said, was owned by his landlord and business partner, who grew up in the area. They had hauled it down from a stairwell and put it in the window. They might — or not — name the place the Saint Francis Xavier Juice Bar. “We have a collection of odd things in here,” he said. “This is another odd thing. We have bottles for a lamp fixture, found objects.”

Kudos to Jack Szarapka for his very "Our Lady of Vilnius" response to the statue of St. Francis Xavier. And to Mr. Tocco, may one of your compeers write a script about growing up in Williamsburg and may you be cast as an Italian-American Williamsburg native carrying the statue of St. Cono behind a horrible band!

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