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Carroll Gardens Italians Hold on to Their Last Club

February 26, 2013 3:21 pm 8 Comments By  | A+ / A-

“We’re leftovers,” said Joe Igneri, the self-proclaimed babysitter of the members of the Society of the Citizens of Pozzallo. “Leftovers.”

For nearly a century the club has anchored the Italian community in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. In a neighborhood that once housed clubs for every group of relocated Italian immigrants, this society, strictly for ex-residents of Pozzallo, a fishing village of nearly 30,000 in Sicily, is all that is left.

Since 1919, men have gathered to spend their evenings drinking espresso, playing card games, reading the local Italian daily and telling stories of their youth. At its peak, nearly 500 members frequented the club, but as the neighborhood gentrified, membership dropped and is now at an all time low of less than 200.

There were only 13,876 residents of Italian ancestry living in Brooklyn’s Community District 6, an area that includes six neighborhoods including Carroll Gardens, in 2010, or 11.8 percent of the total population, according to estimates from the Department of City Planning.

In an attempt to secure any type of future, members worked to have the society designated a non-profit organization and opened up membership to women from Pozzallo. What was once a predominantly male organization is focusing their efforts on expanding their appeal to both women and the younger generation. Members are hoping that with the new changes they will endure and hold on to the last remaining Italian social club in Carroll Gardens.

  • Dominic

    What about the Mola di Bari club on Court Street?

  • Fank

    I hear they are still there. I hope….

    • http://Facebook Cp

      No one has to babysit society of POZZALLO , also in this neighbor Carroll Gardens A K A
      RED HOOK original….. We are not leftovers ,,our roots are here ,we are the true families .
      Some left some stayed . Sometimes leftovers taste better the next day.

  • carmela gulino

    i was born in brooklyn but now live in italy…my father was one of the members…we celebrated christmas and easter and play tombola(bingo)during weekends or holidays….great times

  • John Heyer

    The Pozzallo Club is not the last social club in Carroll Gardens nor is it the last Italian Social Club in Carroll Gardens. I would encourage Mr. Flynn and the Voice of NY to do a better job researching articles. While it is true that the number of Italian immigrants living in Carroll Gardens has decreased from its height (1880 – 1960), I would point out that the last census data showed an increase in those of Italian decent living in Carroll Gardens from the 10 years prior. Lastly, the Pozzallo club does not have an all time low of 200 members, they currently have over 400 family’s which is an all time high for the organization which was founded over 90 years ago.
    I think burned is on Mr. Flynn to do more research, speak to those with the facts and properly re-write this article.

  • Pno Di Stefano

    I been an active member for many years in the Pozzallo Club, I was pleasant surprise reading in “Voice of NY” an article about us. I found your article interesting and accurate. Thanks Sean Flynn for the hospitality in your publication.

  • Alex Wolf

    The Van Westerhout Cittadini Molesi Social Club on Court St. in Carroll Gardens is still up and running strong. I did a small piece on it not that long ago. You can check it out here: http://alexwolf.journalism.cuny.edu/2012/12/21/a-glimpse-of-the-citys-past-one-of-the-last-operating-italian-american-social-clubs/

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