Former Mobster Defends San Gennaro, Takes Aim at Media 'Hypocrisy'

Former mobster/now published author Sonny Girard has made one of his rare posts on his website/blog, Sonnys Mob Cafe.

"I rarely write in anger, but this article in the NY Post pissed me off enough to rant and rave. If my blog is incoherent at times, just blame it on the devil still in me. Glad I'm at a computer rather than down the block on Mulberry Street," he wrote.

The full post, here, is titled, License to Bash Italians & The Assault on San Gennaro.

"It seems I get more infuriated each day by the official hypocrisy of the media and government in this country, and the general sheep-like acceptance of any crap by citizens who are either too distracted, too self-absorbed, or just too damn stupid to realize what’s going on around them.

"Going back over a century or more, Italians have been a silent minority group that could be officially abused without any recourse. To say that they didn’t bring any of it on themselves would be a lie. However, history should be truth. Lately, it has become skewed toward political correctness. In going over history homework with my school age grandchildren, I have found entire paragraphs focused on minority players with good but relatively minor accomplishments while famous white inventors have been minimized to one line.

"That minimization of Italian/white discrimination was no more apparent than after FDR locked up people he deemed a threat to security after WWII began. Over the years, a lot has been made of how unfair it was to Japanese immigrants, including books and movies, while I would be willing to bet that a majority of those reading this now do not realize that a large number of Italians were interned too…and their countrymen didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor!

"In fact, the latter internment is known to Italians as “La Storia Segreto,” or “The Secret Story.” Rather than bitch and moan about the situation, Italians felt ashamed that they would be considered anything less than lovers of America, and buried the whole affair. Google it to learn more.

"Now to the related story that ticked me off today: from the NY Post: Nolita boutiques fighting 'greasy' Feast of San Gennaro," by Susan Edelman.

"Supporters of Little Italy's famed Feast of San Gennaro -- set to celebrate its 85th year in September -- are fighting a newly passed Community Board 2 resolution urging the city to consider shrinking the boisterous, sausage-filled festival by three blocks -- including one that includes beloved St. Patrick's basilica," the article begins.

The recommended cutback -- blasphemous to Italian-Americans who revere the celebration -- stems from gripes by owners of snooty Nolita boutiques about the noise, crowds, cooking smoke -- and even customers attracted to the 11-day event.

"They come in with greasy hands" and stain the leather handbags and $300 dresses, said Ying Ying Chong, owner of White Saffron, one of the hip shops that have popped up on Mulberry Street between Kenmare and Houston streets -- the blocks where the festival would be banned .Read the rest of the Post article.

This site's author adds, What also is happening is Kenmare Street has been going through a "gentrification" process the past several years, with Andres Balazs opening a condo at the head of the strip, followed by several retail boutiques and eateries (including two acclaimed Italian restaurants) opening up as well, taking their cue from the renewal the Bowery has been going through. "Once a forgotten continuation of Delancey Street, Kenmare was home to parking garages, auto mechanics, run-down bodegas, and psychics. But new restaurants and retailers are now opening alongside the parking garages and closed storefronts," relates a story on the website of The Real Deal, a publication devoted to Manhattan real estate. And one thing they don't seem to like is "greasy hands" dirtying up their new gentrified shops -- an unfortunate term for Edelman to use, with obvious overtones of racism against Italians. Which is Sonny's point.

Sonny's post continues:  “They come in with greasy hands.” The “Nolita” (North Little Italy) merchants bitch about the smell of cooking that bothers them. First, these complaining Asian shop girls, like Ying Ying Chong and Heewon Kim, should walk through the “Solita,” or Chinatown side of the area south of Little Italy, on any summer day or night, where rotting entrails and other discards from restaurants permeate the air, before they talk about offensive smells.

"This is where the politically correct reverse racism I mentioned earlier comes into play. Imagine the same kind of statements being made about the smell of the Caribbean Day Parade and celebration? Or about the greasy hands of those eating in Bed-Sty fast food stores leaving fingerprints on store merchandise? Or rumors of cats being served in Chinatown? It would be a national media outrage. Reverand Al might even be leading pickets to get the stores of those who made the remarks shut down. But for a religious Italian feast and celebration, no big deal. And how many pickets and cameras would be outside Community Board 2, the creeps trying to cut down the area of the Feast, which has been in that area for a time closing in on a century if they were trying to limit the growth of Chinatown, which has spread over the area like the BP oil spill?"

Go to Sonny's site to read more.