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Grand Reopenings: Italians Re-Take Petrosino Square

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It was over 100 years ago that Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino of the NYPD gave his life while fighting overseas to free our city from the grip of organized crime, and it seems like it took nearly that long to complete the renovation of the slice of park that bears his name. Now, finally, an expanded Petrosino Square has re-opened on the Soho/Nolita/What'sLeftofLittleItaly border. Officer Petrosino's grandnephew, Joseph A. Petrosino, an assistant D. A. from Brooklyn was there, as was his great-grandnephew, Joseph M. Petrosino, himself an officer with the NYPD. There were Petrosinos everywhere. Tutti Petrosini!

Also on hand to show off the bike-friendly piazza: out-going City Councilman Alan Gerson, who fought long and hard to make this project happen. The crowd cheered for the mayor of Padula, Petrosino's little hometown in southern Italy (site of the annual Festival of the Omelette of the 1,000 Eggs), and many were moved by the words of NYPD Chief Anthony J. Izzo, head of the Organized Crime Control Bureau. The ribbon was cut and then, of course, there was food, with lots of tasty little morsels from Eileen's Special Cheesecake, which has sat across the street for more than 30 years. Finally the festivities ended and everyone went their merry way. Later in the day, after the speeches were over and the flags taken down, one lone soul was seen parked on a bench, savoring some of the newer local cuisine. Enjoy the solitude while it lasts. The downtown crowds will find this sweet resting soon enough.
· A Park Is Renewed, the Better to Honor the Hero in Its Name [City Room]
· Petrosino Square coverage [Curbed]