Check out Poughkeepsie’s Little Italy

May 22, 2019 166

BY: Ann Hutton

One doesn’t have to stroll far along the streets of Poughkeepsie’s Mount Carmel Little Italy district to come across a bakery or restaurant that reaches back into the century-old culinary traditions brought to the Hudson Valley by Italian emigrants. The Poughkeepsie waterfront saw an influx of émigrés in 1910, who settled around Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, the house of worship built specifically to serve them. Soon the once-predominantly-Irish enclave began to take on the flavors and aromas of Old World-style Italian cooking.

Today the area is culturally mixed, but the heritage of the old country survives in its colorful festivals and favorite eateries, many of which have been family-owned and operated for decades. Centered within Verrazano Boulevard, Mill Street and Mt. Carmel Place, Little Italy was loosely defined by church parish boundaries and the Italian Center, a fraternal organization founded by combining several separate Italian-American clubs that were active in the region. 

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