Why you should care
Because if you’re not paying attention, the world around you will change faster than you know.
New York City’s Little Italy, an urban enclave for some of America’s earliest Italian residents, housed around 4 million people in the 30 years from 1890 to 1920. At its largest, it spanned more than 50 square blocks, but today, it stretches the tape at about three blocks — a shrinkage seen any place in America that used to have a Little Italy. And with the exception of Little Italys in Boston, San Diego and Providence, Rhode Island, which are seeing a small resurgence, these neighborhoods are disappearing against the engines of shifting tastes, populations and rocketing real estate. The long timers leave or die.
Neither leaving nor dying: Vinnie Stigma, guitarist for hardcore punk greats Agnostic Front, who has lived in the same spot next to his cousin’s Café’tal Social Club since 1955. Like his father and grandfather before him. In this special Eugenious, OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson, My Dinner With Andre-style, shoots the shit with Stigma over a plate of pasta about the archetypical Little Italy — where it’s been, where it is and where it might be going.