October 4, 2018
As the program began, First Lady Chirlane McCray welcomed New York City’s Italian community to Gracie Mansion with none other than “Buonasera!”
As a fellow member of the Italian community himself, Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed much pride in his people and culture. He stated, “Now one thing we can say, my friends, no one has to question how much Italians have shaped New York City.” Furthermore, Mayor de Blasio explained the significance of Italian ancestors. He said, “It was not easy for them. They confronted every form of challenge here.” He also reminded the audience, “When we are honoring our heritage, we are first and foremost honoring our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents – all of those who made it possible and we never can forget that.”
Upon an introduction, Italy’s Consul General, Francesco Genuardi, immediately highlighted the strong bond between Italy and New York. “The relations between Italy and New York are so intense, so passionately intertwined that it’s impossible to separate the two things. They are based on an incredible, amazing past, on a fantastic present but also I would dare to say, on a terrific future.”
At the Reception, Mayor de Blasio honored author and actress, Jennifer Esposito, whose family is from Naples and Sicily in Italy. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, she has brought her talents to all of New York City. As a noted actress, Jennifer is most recognized for her roles in Summer of Sam and Crash and in numerous TV Shows made in New York City including Rescue Me and Blue Bloods. As an individual with Celiac disease, Jennifer gives back to the community by advocating for others who face the same reality as her. She is also developing her lifestyle platform called Simply Jennifer’s Way. Upon being presented the proclamation that named October 4th, 2018 as Jennifer Esposito Day, she noted, “We’re full of passion, we’re full of love and I think that’s a great combination.” She also stated, “I’m very blessed to be here, to stand and enjoy this wonderful country with all of you.”
Music was performed by I Giullari Di Piazza, “a wonderful group that has preserved Italian folk music going back centuries that keep our heritage alive and vibrant,” as Mayor de Blasio stated. First Lady Chirlane McCray and Mayor Bill de Blasio also noted that the group had played beautifully at their wedding in 1994.
Video description: Watch the livestream of the remarks from the Italian Heritage Reception.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our sponsors for their generous support of the 2018 Italian Heritage Reception: