Italian immigrants began arriving in Troy in the late 1880s, escaping the abject poverty of their homeland. They settled in Troy’s First and Eighth Wards, just south of the central business district, in an area bustling with activity. The neighborhood contained blocks of two- and three-story brick buildings and a mix of row houses and freestanding homes. Most homes were built on streets adjacent to the western slope of Mount Ida, the city’s most prominent geographic feature. Within a few years, these Italian immigrants began opening small businesses, particularly on Fourth Street, the center of the Little Italy neighborhood, and soon became an important part of Troy’s cultural heritage.
Author Bio: Michael A. Esposito, a retired librarian and resident of Little Italy, first heard stories of the neighborhood from his parents. His mother was a sewing machine operator in Troy’s garment industry and his father was a fruit peddler who sold produce door to door. Troy’s Little Italy is the result of Esposito’s longtime interest and research into the neighborhood, its history, and the people who brought to it their rich culture and native traditions.
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