Bensonhursters once again celebrated Italian heritage with the 10-day 18th Avenue Feast, which culminated in a parade on Aug. 31.
The decades-old tradition honors St. Rosalia, the patron saint of Palmero Italy, but it is also a chance for people from the neighborhood to come together and enjoy food and fun in the street.
“You love to see the neighborhood come alive like this,” said reveller Rob Maringelli.
Food vendors set up along the avenue and sling festival favorites like rice balls, sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, and Italian delicacies like grilled octopus. The multi-day celebration often leaves several blocks of the avenue covered in trash, but members of the local community board say things were better this time than in previous years.
“Conditions were much better with trash and carding,” said CB11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.
There is still room for improvement, she said. The community board and festival organizers asked the Mayor’s office to bump the festival forward a week so its end wouldn’t coincide with the Labor Day trash-collection holiday, but the city apparently snubbed the request and ignored letters from the board.
“There has been no response to our letter,” Elias-Pavia said. “We’re very upset the board went through these efforts and our recommendations were not heard.”