Little Italy In San Pedro
October 30, 2019
If you call The Vue in San Pedro home, then you’ve likely heard at least a little something about the historic Little Italy revival celebration that took place in early October. Along with City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, scores of residents flocked to downtown San Pedro for the unveiling of the new Little Italy sign and the official “grand opening” of this part of the city as such. As with anything that happens in this town, though, there are two sides to the story. As important and historic as the designation of Little Italy was, it’s also important to hear some of the questions that other city residents have raised about move. That’s what we’ll be looking into today, as we check out the mixed reception that the creating of San Pedro’s own Little Italy has received.
Questions About Little Italy In San Pedro
One of the first questions raised about the creation of Little Italy was done so by columnist Richard Foss, a historian who, in a piece written last year, wondered why the Italian community of San Pedro was being honored at the exclusion of the equally strong Croatian community. “Though a large Italian community did exist here,” Foss stated, “the area’s Croatian community has been more active in recent decades.”
Coompounding Foss’ confusion were the boundaries that the city used to define the area of this new Little Italy. Foss said that the borders encompass a “largely residential area with no particular connection to the historic Italian community,” a sentiment that you’ll find echoed in other pieces critical of Little Italy’s founding, like that by Donna Littlejohn in the Daily Breeze.
Littlejohn points out that boundaries of Little Italy appear “random,” and adds that there’s no “obvious physical landmark” there that one would associate with a strong historic Italian community. Littlejohn goes on to mention that the plans to create a Little Italy in San Pedro were not met with universal praise from the community. In fact, for some, they were a surprise, and have come under criticism for “not being more inclusive of the other ethnic groups that settled there and helped establish San Pedro, including the native Tongva people, Croatians, Hispanics, Latinos, Swedes, Portuguese, Japanese and Irish.”
And this isn’t to say that the idea behind creating Little Italy or the push for preserving historic LA communities is wrong. However, these criticisms are food for thought as you ponder the reception to the idea and watch how it all plays out.
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