Tight Knit Neighborhoods

In the readings from "Beyond the Melting Pot," the author notes that many Italians deeply value family relationships and in the chapter, the author gives examples of a pattern in many Italian neighborhoods. Married children stay close to their parents even when they start a family of their own, which creates Italian neighborhoods with multiple generations living in them. While this builds strong familial bonds, the author mentions that it also breeds mistrust of strangers who are considered “outsiders.” In the New York Times article by Kurt Eichenwald, he writes that Howard Beach, a largely Italian-American neighborhood, is secluded and close-knit. Italian youths may grow up in a nurturing environment centered around family, but at the same time this environment may have an adverse affect in that they may not deliberately seek to interact with others they are not familiar with. In the past when new people attempted to move into predominantly Italian-American neighborhoods they were unwelcome and often met with hostile neighbors. In some extreme cases the Italian-American residents move away to other neighborhoods. This further illustrates both the community’s desire to continue to preserve their traditions, and their desire to keep “outsiders” out.