An immoveable feast: City denies date-change for 18th Avenue Feast

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bensonhurst’s biggest street festival will go on as regularly scheduled on Aug. 21, despite the wishes of its own planners.

Organizers the of Festa di Santa Rosalia — better known as the 18th Avenue Feast — asked the city in March to move the 11-day street party’s start date forward to Aug. 14 this year so that it wouldn’t end on Labor Day weekend.

But the city said fugghedaboudit in a letter issued to the organizers and Community Board 11 on July 30 — after the Santa Rosalia Society, which puts on the event, had already spent weeks advertising the earlier date.

The board’s district manager said the city dropped the ball in not telling them sooner that the new date was a no-go.

“We are very disappointed that the street activity office didn’t make plans as we recommended,” said district manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

Several blogs and a local newspaper had reported that the festival date had been moved, but the city never approved the change in the permit date.

Organizers and the community board sought to move the festival amid concerns about sanitation, Elias-Pavia said. Starting on Aug. 21, this year’s fair will end on the Labor Day holiday weekend — when the sanitation Department takes a holiday from collecting garbage — so bags of trash from the bash will sit rotting curbside for three nights, the administrator said.

“Being that is a commercial corridor, and its traditionally a shopping weekend, that doesn’t work,” said Elias-Pavia.

The 70-year-old feast, named for the patron saint of Palmero, Italy, stretches from 68th to 75th streets and celebrates Bensonhurst’s Italian-American community, which has dwindled in recent years from 17,143 in 2000 to 10,136 in 2012, according to census data.

This is not the first time there has been confusion about the festival. The Feast hit a paperwork snag in 2011, and organizers pulled the plug on it that year, but it returned in 2012. City officials approved street-closure permits for the 2013 festival just 24 hours before it was scheduled to start.

The Santa Rosalia Society could not be reached for comment, and the phone number listed on its permit application appears to be incorrect. The city did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Festa di Santa Rosalia or the 18th Avenue Feast (18th Avenue between 68th and 75th streets in Bensonhurst) Aug. 21–31. 6–11 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260-8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
I have a suggestion -- If you're so concerned about "rotting garbage" and this is such an important event, how about you pick up the garbage yourself?

I know the little dab of religion is how you try to make it seem like this isn't just the usual sausage, mozzarepa and tube sock street fair, but... it is. That's why no one has suggested paying for sanitation themselves -- probably can just wait a week and go to the next one in a different neighborhood, with the same exact set of vendors from New Jersey... oh right, but the parade!

By the way, what is so great about some crazy rich person named Rosalia going to live in a cave?
Aug. 11, 2014, 9:11 am
Giorgio miBlasio from Little Italy says:
For the: Festa di Santa Rosalia
Our major should come up and respect his grandparents as it is of heritage. What is he afraid of? Italians are religious and respectful. That is why mr. softee was invented. Lately Italians change the sauce.
Aug. 11, 2014, 9:19 am
Carl from Bensonhurst says:
The haters are out today, the above two posts are likely the same hateful troll spewing it's venom. I notice every time a story about this tired old street fair comes to light, the haters emerge, loaded with stereotypes and the like. Sad.
Aug. 11, 2014, 12:18 pm
ty from pps says:
my imposter is getting too long winded.
Aug. 11, 2014, 12:22 pm
Anthony from There says:
Yaaawn These comment sections have really sucked lately.

Where's the die hipsters guy? At least he was funny and told it like it is about the pro hipster articles and put these boring yuppy commentors in their place. Please come back!
Aug. 11, 2014, 12:40 pm
ty from pps says:
What stereotype? There are maybe 3 street fairs in the entire city that aren't italian sausage, mozzarepas and tube socks. And this ain't one of them!
Aug. 11, 2014, 2:34 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
If people enjoy themselves, spend money why are panties bunched - I have no use for them personally but not up to me to dictate how others [end their time. If you do not like do not go - pretty simple.
Aug. 11, 2014, 3:04 pm
Jim from Bensonhurst says:
It creates noise, litter, traffic, loss of residential parking spaces from inconsiderate disrespectful patrons.
Aug. 13, 2014, 11:35 am
Joe from Jersey says:
If this was some other ethnic groups festival, or the garden variety nyc weekend street fair, flea or farmers market, would the haters be spouting off?!## Pipe down, schmoes!!! Get a life!!! Any thsnks NYC bureaucrats for screwing up the dates. I drove all the way to Brooklyn for nothing! Can I get my gas and toll money back? Schmucks! Mayor Dumblasio!
Aug. 17, 2014, 10:28 pm
Big Mike from West Coast says:
The Italians from California will be going to this festival in honor of Sicilian heritage. Whether east or west coast or in between, the Sicilian pride runs deep!
Aug. 18, 2014, 1:33 am
Cliff desiderio from Bay ridge says:
It sucks because we should be able to enjoy the feast like when I was I kid my grandfather brang me when I was a kid . Now I want my kids to have fun like I did. The time I had when I was young I'm coming today and there better bee no problems because then there will be problems I love my heritage
Aug. 23, 2014, 7:08 am
Gil from Boro Park says:
I went to the feast and I must that some of those venders are real nasty. I went to eat at Lucy's and couldn't believe that they were serving food and handling money at the same time. When you say something to the worker about the concern, they get nasty. Get your sh_t together.
Aug. 31, 2014, 9:13 am
Sebastiano from Palermo says:
Evviva Palermo e Santa Rosalia!!!
Oct. 12, 2014, 2:12 am
Born and Raised Brooklynite from Gravesend says:
Hipsters, yuppies, Dumblazio:

Our heritage is strong. You can't get rid of us.

Nor can you get rid of the horses in Central Park Mr. Mayor.
Aug. 27, 2015, 3:18 pm

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