The Italian Experience in America
See everything we ate or drank on Instagram: @RaveniteClub
Long before there was social media, there were social clubs. In ethnic neighborhoods people would gather who shared a common culture and interest. One of the most famous was the Ravenite Club in Little Italy in Lower Manhattan. Today it is a fancy shoe store. Thankfully it is not a mega-retail chain, but it is a sad testimony to today’s devolving cities which no longer have a uniqueness. For all those who wish to wish to revisit places like that, they are welcome here.
How did this blog start? In 1999 I created a website Sicilian Culture which was featured in the Italian-American Magazine PRIMO. While this was before the days of “blogs”, that is exactly what it was. Thousands of pages of history, recipes, current and old news items.
Why was the name changed? Sicilian Culture, as wide of scope as there was, was not enough to offer all the news, information and culture I wanted it to. Sicily has changed a tremendous deal. People forget, Sicily is closer to Africa than it is to Rome. So, I wanted a wider variety of information to write about.
Why the name Ravenite Club? I think we all miss Little Italy the way it was back in the 1990s and earlier. The infamous Ravenite Club might have been part of the cause. There was a lot of FBI activity, rents escalated and the Italians all moved out to the suburbs in Long Island, New Jersey, Staten Island, etc. Names like Bacchus, Cibo & Vino (Food & Wine), etc were taken. So Ravenite Club seemed like the perfect name that was not generic yet was very specific to a certain type of culture for the finer things in life.