At Bklyner., reporter Pamela Wong talks with photographer Larry Racioppo, whose new book of 128 black-and-white photographs documents a neighborhood of South Brooklyn that existed long before you needed at least $2,500 monthly for a one-bedroom in Park Slope (and yes, I know where we live is worse). From Bklyner.:
Born in South Slope, Racioppo’s family moved to 40th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues in Sunset Park when he was in second grade. “When I was born my parents had an apartment on 6th Avenue between Prospect Avenue and 17th Street,” he explained over the phone. “The building was torn down to build the Prospect Expressway.”
“My parents, my grandparents, all came from southern Italy,” he continued. “They worked as laborers. My grandparents never learned how to speak English. They had Italian friends that had Italian bakeries, Italian stores. They all settled in South Brooklyn and Sunset Park. My dad and five or six of my uncles were longshoremen. They all worked on the docks,” he recalled.
“We referred to it as ‘the neighborhood,’” he said of the area he grew up in, which serves as the setting for his book. “This vague thing, somewhere from 10th Street to 18th Street, from 4th Avenue to 6th Avenue. All my mother’s friends and cousins lived there. They were all from southern Italy.”