By Joseph M. Calisi © 2022 All Rights Reserved
Lower Manhattan, New York City, March 17, 2022
In a surprisingly quick turn of events at a private breakfast, New York Governor Hochul has reversed course after an article in New York City’s leading newspaper, The New York Post (https://nypost.com/2022/03/
What followed was a series of phone calls from Italian American groups to Albany political leaders that resulted in the reversal.
Governor Hochul said at the announcement that also honored St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) with zeppole and sfingi pastry, “Whether in government, business, public safety or in the arts, Italian Americans have been integral in building and strengthening New York State. I’m proud to honor the legacy and heritage of New York’s Italian American community, the largest in the United States, by announcing $1 million in state funding to help complete construction of the Italian American Museum in Little Italy…” and “…As we build back our economy, my administration is fully committed to supporting New York’s diverse communities and embracing our rich cultural heritage…”
Dr. Scelsa, Director of the Italian American Museum, stated: “This generous gesture will go far in helping to create a world-class cultural institution that will serve as a community cultural anchor.”
The announcement came as a great relief to the Italian American community which had become increasingly agitated over recent events. As a large political block, Italian Americans comprise 12% of the state’s population which could come in handy with Election Day this November.
Among the beneficiaries of the money being sent to that district is Italian-American Museum President Joseph Scelsa. He said that the surprise announcement is appreciated after finding out that New York State just contributed $1 million towards construction to finish the newly built structure at 155 Mulberry Street replacing the old one that was beyond rehab status—thus the need to replace the old building. He also added that New York City elected officials hadn’t contributed to the re-build of the museum.
The Italian American Museum’s new structure is a four-story with 7,000 square feet of space. The new IAM is a mixed-used six-story building with 20 residential condo units with a price tag of $40 million.
Part of the Lower Manhattan funding deal was that other businesses in Little Italy would be able to apply for that $20 million grant.
Also released this week is the news that Matilda Cuomo, the mother of ex-Gov. Andrew, was being restored back to the previous advisory position she held.