There are a lot of storefronts in Long Island City that, from an economic perspective, make no sense in the 21st century. Possibly the most perplexing, economically and in a number of other aspects, is the one with a bright red and white sign, in a foreign language, with a cryptic font, on the east side of Vernon Boulevard entitled Societa Sant’ Amato Di Nusco. Easier to decipher are the black letters on the front door announcing “Members Only,” which when combined with the shades on the front windows not allowing passersby to peer inside, conjures up, well, let’s call it a stereotypical image. The reality though, is a little more prosaic. The Societa was established in 1904 by immigrants from the town of Nusco, which is about 40 miles east of Naples. According to QueensBuzz:
The purpose of the Societa’ was to help community members who needed it. It’s important to bear in mind that the Society was created prior to the widespread availability of health and life insurance, the establishment of unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Community members paid dues, participated in the society’s community and helped each other as needed.
Thus, it was typical of many immigrant groups formed in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays, all these needs, not to mention luxurious waterfront housing with spectacular views and amenities galore, are taken care of by the government, and Facebook has supplanted the social aspects. But back then, people were genuinely excited when they inquired “You from Nusco? I’m from Nusco!”
It’s nice to have a relic like this in our hometown as a reminder of the past. In most other locales, a place such as this would have been supplanted by a Starbucks by now, whereas the current members of this club drinks espressos made from the same machines their great grandparents did. Plus, it gives us here at LICtalk, and those without children, a welcome diversion from the rash of sprinkler problems plaguing the neighborhood and the news.
Queens Residents Call On City to Fix Sandy Damaged Sprinkler – like I’ve been saying, should be done by Labor Day. As for that other one: “Not gonna happen this summer” …”Oops, it is going to happen, like the day after we told you it wasn’t” …Uhh, maybe not so fast.
Here’s a little tip from LICtalk: maybe you need to get the Societa working on these sprinklers?
LIC’s Court Square Changes As Massive Towers Rise – a history of Ct Square, thru the lens
Chef Brings Farm Fresh Food to Dutch Kills – a new restaurant in the ‘hood
CBRE Arranges Sale of Two Industrial Buildings for $2.95 Mil – normally I don’t publish press releases, but these two are slated to become residential
LIC Man Captures Cultures on Film – profile of a long time LIC resident and film maker