My father Angelo Botarelli arrived in Brooklyn 1953 on the Andrea Dora, he was born in Viterbo Italy provence of Lazio. After WW2 my father migrated to Switzerland to work, he lived there 5 years met my mother Swiss born Erika Bischoff 13 years his junior my sister Anna Maria was born in Switzerland. The Swiss treated my father poorly because he lived on the German side of the country. My father Angelo had a relative living in Brooklyn who sponsored him to come to USA. My father loved America it accepted him he was able to open up his own Barber Shop in Boro Park Bklyn. We first lived in an attic apt freezing in winter, boiling in summer, I was born there in 1955. We moved when I was three to the building where my father had his barber shop we lived on the 3rd floor. My father would own that barber shop from 1953 till 1998 , 45 years he worked 6 days a week the 1st twenty years in America he took 2 vacations back to Italy for two weeks. In 1964 he finally got his American dream he purchased a home half a block away from the store. He never owned a car , why his life was on that block. He was the Psychologist of the neighborhood, the men would sit in his chair and tell Angelo all there problems. I am blessed I got lucky living on 60th street between 14-15th ave, in 1975 my present wife Antoinette Genovese arrived a beautiful French born girl of 15 from Italian Calabrese parents I fell in love we married in 1982 , we have two sons Fabio and Stefan , Stefan graduated Harvard University and Fabio Trinity College. I wish my Papa who passed away in 2001 was around to see his two grandson’s graduate from fine private colleges. Stefan was accepted into the Porcellian the same Final Club that former Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the same club that rejected his nephew FDR for membership. My son because the 12 Italian American in History of the PC Club formed in 1789.
I must add I am very very sad that 18th Avenue in Brooklyn is shown in PBS special as vibrant Italian American avenue when the TRUTH is its now 95% Chinese. The area knows an Bensonhurst in your special is now 60% Chinese and 15 % Spanish , the balance Italian American and what is worse they all don’t speak Italian. What your PBS special also fails to mention is that we are the only RACE that after 1st generation the language is Lost ,lost forever, this does not happen with Koreans, Spanish, Greek etc. What the PBS special needs to add is that Brooklyn and Little Italy are GONE replaced by Chinese, if you want to find Italians need to go to Staten Island,NJ and Westhester. Also the italian community of Bronx of Arthur Ave is also no longer Italian its Albanian !!