Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pre-Knickerbocker Village: From 8/21/05

The feast of San Rocco was celebrated in August. The parade started in Little Italy and proceeded south on James Street and turned east on Cherry toward Catherine. The neighborhood was solidly Italian. I met a Denise Vispisiano who told me her grandfather lived in the area and had a fruit stand. I found the family on Hamilton Street in the 1920 census (right in the heart of where Knickerbocker Village was to be built). Notice that every one of the families on this block comes from Italy (click on the image to see an enlarged view). So Who Is St. Rocco?: St. Rocco is the patron saint of Patrica, a small town in central Italy and the home of many immigrants who came here to 4th Ward in the early part of the 20th Century. Those Italian workers brought with them this tradition of honoring the 14th-century holy man with music, prayers and a procession. Saint Rocco is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as the protector against the plague and all contagious diseases. The statue of Saint Rocco is considered unique among theologians because of his pose. It is most unusual because it depicts him with his left hand pointing to an open sore on his left leg. Few images of saints expose any afflictions or handicaps. His body is enclosed in a glass tomb in the church of San Rocco in Venice, Italy. The commemoration the death of this great follower of Christ is held on August 16th of each year. Here's a slide show with images of the Feast of San Rocco from 1931

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