The 32nd Annual Columbus Day Parade in Bensonhurst

Italian-American pride struts down Bensonhurst’s main thoroughfare

The Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Photo gallery

All-American girls: The girls from the Saint Finbar’s dance school salute the discovery of America.
Balliamo!: Michela Scardini gets ready to show off some traditional Italian dance moves.
Marching orders: Ivelisse Jalil leads a battalion from Fort Hamilton.
Italian-American pride: Greg Arianaos shows his appreciation for the contributions Italians have made to this country.
Ameri-go!: Joan De Blasso waves Old Glory.
Screecher on parade: Bensonhurst Italian-American icon Carmiine Santa Maria rides his scooter, Tornado, to applause from the crowd.
No, that’s not Bill De Blasio: Performers from the Italian Fairy program stride down 18th Avenue.

They don’t call it Cristoforo Colombo Boulevard for nothing!

More than a thousand marchers — and twice as many spectators — converged on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst on Oct. 12 to commemorate one of the most influential Italians in world history.

The 32nd Annual Columbus Day Parade strutted from 60th to 84th streets, and featured a dazzling array of local schools, social clubs, dance troupes, and even bands visiting from Italy — all decked out in red, white, and green.

“It was a great celebration. I though it was just fantastic,” said Father Michael Gelfant of Saint Finbar’s Church on Bath Avenue, one of the parade’s grand marshalls.

Helping Gelfant head up the procession were Principal Josephine Sportella-Giusto of the Academy of Talented Scholars on Avenue P, attorney Luigi Rosabianca, and Lenny Tillman of Lenco Diagnostic on 86th Street. Acting as master of ceremonies from the reviewing stand was Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura.

Scissura argued that the robust demonstration of pride in the Genoa-born explorer flew in the face of the notion that Italian-Americans are abandoning Brooklyn.

“When people say the Italian community is leaving Brooklyn, you come out to this parade, you see a lot of people, and you see a community that’s very vibrant and very proud of their heritage and of being in Brooklyn,” the Bensonhurst native said.

And of course, no Bensonhurst event would be complete without an appearance from Courier-Life’s own Carmine Santa Maria, who has been part of the parade for the past 25 years. The Big Screecher raved that the Federation of Italian-American Organizations — and its secretary Barbara Pascarella in particular — had put together one of the greatest processions on record.

“It was a great effort they put into it,” Santa Maria screeched. “It was one of the best parades I’ve ever seen.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

diehipster from Torturing Tristans says:
Now this is REAL Brooklyn! Just look at all the normal looking people in those pics. You won't find a 1/3 Amish, 1/3 Joey Ramone, 1/3 Andy Warhol looking transient hipster within miles of here.

Stay above the line!!!!!!
Oct. 15, 2013, 9:49 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I was trying to drive my land rover down 18th Ave. with my family and this gang of Italians blocked my way, so I ran them over...I also might have thrown a water bottle at them.
Oct. 15, 2013, 10:39 am
bkmanhatposeur from brokeland says:
@joey from clinton hills
hahahaha. LoL
And is taht really Carmine? didnt realize he is that big.
Oct. 15, 2013, 11:47 am

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: