The 2019 Eastchester Columbus Day Carnival will take place over Columbus Day weekend, Friday, October 11th through Columbus Day, October 14th, at Lake Isle Country Club.

The four-day carnival features exciting rides for all ages, delicious food and treats, live music and entertainment, games & prizes, vendors, homemade meatball and homemade wine contests, and much more. Admission & parking are free!

It will be my privilege again to be in the parade on Sunday afternoon, stepping off at 3:30 from Immaculate Conception Church, marching ‎up Main Street into White Plains Post Road and on to the carnival.

Columbus Day came to be celebrated in the United States as a day of Italian ethnic pride when immigrants from that country and their immediate descendants were still on the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder here.

My great-grandfather Joseph Del Giudice (1878-1974, originally “Giuseppe”) was one of the relatively early arrivals, coming from the hills of Caserta province outside Naples, in 1887, at the age of nine. Four years later, his father Vincenzo either fell, or was pushed, off a garbage scow in the East River near 110th Street in Manhattan under circumstances as murky as that body of water. The corpse washed up three weeks later near Randall’s Island and a perplexing and inconclusive coroner’s inquest ensued.

Defendant Constantino Rizzo told the police that he was present when Vincenzo “fell” but told the Coroner’s Jury that he was not there right then; and there were discrepancies on where the alleged fall occurred and when and where the body was found.

In any event, young Joseph grew up in two predominately German neighborhoods which became known as Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx in later times. The slightly more established German immigrants, having arrived in the aftermath of the European upheavals of 1848, looked down on the Italians. Family lore has it that the local German brewery awarded a cash prize annually to the general excellence award winner at 8th grade graduation ceremony of the neighborhood Catholic school….but not the year my Joseph Del Giudice was the top scholar!

My great-grandfather had a fulfilling career in helping bring more Italians and other immigrants over, until his retirement at age 80, as chronicled in a 1958 article in the shipping news of the Journal of Commerce.

So yes, some rough characters come in with every new immigrant wave, maybe even your own ancestors, but we shouldn’t paint the whole group with the broad brush of criminality. And some members of earlier ethnic groups, in the country just a generation or two here themselves, treat new arrivals unkindly and unfairly, but we all know now that’s just wrong! Siamo d’accordo?

And any descendants of Rizzo out there today, don’t worry. My people are not holding a grudge.

BTW another, funnier story about Joseph is that he once got a speeding ticket when commuting from his later, big Victorian home, on Morsemere Place in Yonkers, to 25 Broadway near the lower tip of Manhattan‎…on his bicycle!‎

Deb and I hope to see you all at the parade and carnival in Eastchester!