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Chinese & Italians Celebrate Shared History, New Historic Distict

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Even by New York standards, it was a remarkable multi-cultural event. Last weekend, some of the city’s most well known Chinese and Italian community leaders gathered in a banquet hall in Little Italy for a special celebration. The occasion was the first annual “Marco Polo Day,” a commemoration of the new Chinatown-Little Italy historic district.

A proclamation was read from Governor Paterson. Victor Papa, the mastermind behind the new district (and President of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council) spoke about the importance of the new designation. Borough President Scott Stringer was on hand to officially declare it Marco Polo Day, a nod to the historic bond between the Italian and Chinese people. John Liu, almost certainly New York City’s next comptroller, and CD1 Democratic nominee Margaret Chin got to say a few words. But the high point for many was the hugely entertaining bilingual operatic performance from ALFIO (an Italian/Australian native) and Chinese musician Jian Wei Han:

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  1. I have attended many community events over the last 25 years, and the Marco Polo Day celebration is probably my favorite. I got goose bumps listening to the two tenors sing an Italian aria. Both Chinatown and Little Italy came together in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect. It was a unique new York moment that I will remember for a long time…

  2. Thanks for your comment, Robert. It was an amazing afternoon. You did a great job orchestrating the program. I look forward to hearing an operatic performance from you sometime soon!

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