DeBlasio and Palminteri Differ On Who Built NYC
DeBlasio and Palminteri Differ On Who Built NYC
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio faced off with “A Bronx Tale” actor, Chazz Palminteri in a heated radio dispute this past week on WABC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show”.
Palminteri, in a fiery radio segment on Friday, accused the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who is the head of the She Built NYC commission of racism when the nomination for s Central Park statue of Italian sister, Francesca Xavier Cabrini was thrown over in favor of an African-American, LGBTQ activist drag queen.
I’m a very proud Italian-American. Here’s a woman who started 67 charities, Mr. Mayor. 67! Here’s a woman who’s the patron saint of immigrants, who has done so much for New York and the world. Mr. Mayor, how could we just disregard Mother Cabrini and say, ‘Okay, she’s out and these other seven are in?’”-Chazz Palminteri
How? I’d say because together, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray decided-upon initiative to “rid the city of symbols of hate” included drag queens and not Catholic nuns who fed the poor.
DeBlasio, born Warren Wilhelm, Jr., as I’d like to point out fired back:
You just don’t call someone a racist because they started to try to address a historic wrong. The effort she was part of created statues for white people, black people, Latino people, straight people, gay people, all five boroughs. That’s not racist, so get it together. Let’s be real here.”-Bill de Blasio
Italian-Americans sounded off. Loudly, and passionately, as we Italians tend to do from time to time. Okay, actually, we always do it, who am I kidding?
— BrianFantana (@BrianaFantana) October 7, 2019
McCray’s office called Palminteri’s claims “ludacris”. Note the spelling.
The best part of all this is the response from McCray’s spokesperson….referring to Chaz’s comments as “LUDACRIS”…spelling it like the rapper. Comedy!
— Piper75 (@DePiper75) October 7, 2019
I’m not even joking right now, I promise you. LUD-A-CRIS!
Of the women who were also denied a statue on behalf of the She Built NYC project? Poll leaders Emily Warren Roebling, who led the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Music School founder Janet Schenck. In an effort to recognize women who blazed the trail for other women, a MAN who dresses like a woman gets a statue. But does Mother Cabrini? Nah. These clowns prefer Drag Queen Story Hour. Yeah. Because THAT builds a city!
When Mother Cabrini first arrived in New York City with her Sisters in 1889, they soon found the bustling city not very welcoming. Far from their home in Codogno, Italy, and unable to speak English, they were still full of hope and anticipation for their missionary work. However, their New York hosts had not fully prepared for their visit. As a result, their first night in New York found the sisters huddled in a filthy room in the Italian ghetto, as their lodgings had not yet been readied. The next thing they discovered was that their missionary stipend, the money they needed to live and eat, was also not available to them.
Undaunted, the Sisters went forward with their work. When necessity called, they would beg for food and supplies door to door in the Italian neighborhoods of the lower West Side.
It was not long before benefactors came forward, inspired by the tireless efforts of the Sisters. Valuable property near 59th Street was donated by the wealthy Countess of Cesnola. The sisters soon opened an orphanage there, and it also became their living quarters. Within two years, the sisters helped open Columbus Hospital on East 19th Street and secured land for an out-of-town home for the orphans in upstate West Park, New York.
Mother Cabrini’s success in New York soon brought her to Chicago, which faced many of the same immigrant issues. Chicago’s poor but growing Italian Community desperately needed schools for the young, and better access to healthcare and spiritual guidance.”-cabrininationalshrine.org
Bill DeBlasio conveniently changed his name for “cosmetic” purposes to appeal to the vast groups of Italian-American voters in New York City. He used his heritage to further advance his political aspirations. But an Italian immigrant who helped open orphanages and hospitals in New York City and the surrounding areas for no political gain was not good enough for him or his wife, Chirlane McCray-who, by the way, conveniently sidestepped any decision-making on the She Built NYC statue initiative. McCray cited that it was Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen who made the final call.
As an Italian-American whose family came to New York harbor in the late 1800s, I can attest that some of these immigrants were amongst the most hardest working people of their time. My great-grandfather helped construct the bridges that linked the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan together. They, along with other immigrants of other nationalities, played an important role in the infrastructure of the New York City we know today. Francesca Xavier Cabrini shouldered the burden of poverty to help others in need. If we want to throw in diversity here, her efforts helped many residents of all races and religious backgrounds. SHE helped build NYC with her bare hands.
Chazz Palminteri is not wrong in his belief that Cabrini’s efforts paling in comparison to drag queen and LGBTQ activist Marsha Johnson can be perceived as racist. And if it is not enough to say the Mother Cabrini snub was blatant, we have yet another drag queen statue being erected in the She Built NYC project-Silvia (Jose) Rivera. As far as feeding orphans or caring for the sick stand in making New York City a better city for all? They’re not important enough to the Mayor and First Lady of NYC. Racist much? I’d say if the drag-queen nominee’s size 12 shoe fits, wear it, Ms. McCray. If the shoe fits you, Mr. Wilhelm…you can take it and Va fa Napoli!
Photo Credit: FlickR/Creative Commons/Public Domain Mark 1.0/Cropped