Tower of power

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Every year, the now-scattered descendants of Williamsburg’s Italian community return to the ’hood with one essential goal: to lift an 80-foot tall, three- ton tower known as the “giglio” onto their shoulders and “dance” with it through the streets as part of the annual feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola in Williamsburg.

On Sunday, July 13 at 1 pm, 130 men will carry the massive “giglio” — Italian for “lily” — accompanied by 120 men carrying a life-size reproduction of Saint Paulinus’s boat, which has been newly remodeled in honor of the 50th anniversary of its lift.

This year, the “Capo,” or coordinator of the lifts, will be Phil Mana, a Williamsburg native who has been working his way to the prestigious title for 51 years.

The “Capo” directs the men in how to lift, where to turn and when to do the “number two” — which means dropping the “giglio” tower and picking it up again. The procession is also a very important one for Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, as Mana reminded GO Brooklyn.

“If we don’t get that ‘giglio’ up to dance, we’re not honoring the saint,” he explained. “We keep [the ‘giglio’] in our tradition for our families and our church.”

The “dance” is only one highlight of the annual festival, which will take over North Eighth Street around Havemeyer Street every day from July 9 to July 20 and fill it with live entertainment, Italian food vendors, games for kids and a celebration mass in at least five languages.

Another festival highlight is a concert featuring Michael Amante and comedian Sal Richards. They’ll be performing at the Mount Carmel Auditorium at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 10.

The Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Paulinus of Nola feast will be held July 9 - 20 on North Eighth Street, between Meeker and Roebling streets, and Havemeyer Street, between Union Avenue and North Sixth Street, in Williamsburg, from 6 pm to 11 pm on weekdays and noon to midnight on weekends. The “dance of the giglio” begins at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (275 N. Eighth Street at Havemeyer Street) on July 13 at 1 pm. Tickets to the July 10 Michael Amante concert are a $75 suggested donation and are available at or by calling (888) 365-0218.

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: