“La Festa Di Santa Lucia” on East 12th Street

This 1960 painting, by New York City–born artist John Costanza, depicts a 1930 street fair on East 12th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in honor of St. Lucy (there she glows in the first-floor window).


This East Village neighborhood has long since ben colonized by professionals, hipsters, and NYU students. But decades ago it was home to a cluster of Italian immigrants.

A few reminders still exist: Veniero’s pastry shop, Lanza’s restaurant, and the former Italian Labor Center on East 14th Street, with its terra cotta panels depicting family life and work.

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7 Responses to ““La Festa Di Santa Lucia” on East 12th Street”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    And on 13th Street between First and Avenue A they would seal off the street for a week around September-October and have a bazaar with rides and prizes . A mini-Coney Island, if you will, which was highlighted by a religious procession of the Italian residents that so much populated the area.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks–I love little neighborhood details like this.

  3. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I don’t know if it was a fire or just arson but the little candle lit shrine they had for the saint burned down one night on 13th Street near the back of the post office. The bazaar had ended some years ago. This was in the 70s when crime was everywhere.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    I don’t miss 70s-style crime, but I do wish neighborhoods weren’t so homogeneous. We could use more candlelit shrines between bank branches and Pinkberrys.

  5. Joanne Says:

    Love the painting of La Festa di Santa Lucia by John Costanza. Do you know if I can purchase a print of this anywhere? Thank you.

  6. Veniero’s has the East Village’s best neon sign | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] for eight years, he’d saved enough money to open a social club at 342 East 11th Street—then an enclave of Italian immigrants amid a larger neighborhood of Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, and other […]

  7. 12 historic Italian-American sites of the East Village - Village Preservation Says:

    […] This painting by John Constanza shows a festival in 1930 honoring Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) on East 12th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. Celebrated annually in December, it is also known as the Festival of Lights, meant to look forward to the return of longer and brighter days as the weeks progress. The painting appears to show the statue of St. Lucy in the ground floor of the tenement at 413 East 12th Street, which is buttressed by our research which says that the ground floor of the building was originally used by a church, and the cornice which contains the name “G. De Bellis,” indicating at the very least that the building was originally built by Italian Americans. The site was just up the block from Mary Help of Christians Church. […]

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