The Italian Tribune Turns 85!

Serving the Italian Americans 1931-2016
On July 31, 2016, the Italian Tribune celebrated its 85th anniversary. Through the decades, the paper has survived the bulk of the Great Depression in the 1930s and through the Great Recession in the early part of this decade. The Tribune has brought its readers stories of Italians and Italian Americans through years of war and times of peace – from Baby Boomers to the Millennials, through the turbulent 1960s and each decade that followed, the Italian Tribune has brought to its readers stories of inspiration, current events, culture, art, fashion, cuisine, sports, history and much more. As the Internet has grown, so has the readership of the Italian Tribune and while some claim that “print is dead,” the newspaper’s circulation has never been higher.

To meet the needs of the Italian American and immigrant population, when the Italian Tribune began in 1931, the paper was printed half in English and half in Italian. Major events that year included the economy in the U.S. It was faltering and 1931 saw the doubling of unemployment. However, it also saw the completion of one of the icon landmarks of New York – the Empire State Building. In its early years, it had so many vacant offices it was known as the “Empty State Building.” Vatican Radio first began broadcastings; Riccardo Giacconi, Italian-born physicist and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics was born and Marcello Amero D’Aste, Italian admiral and politician, died.

In July of 1931, the rebuilt Milano Centrale railway station officially reopened in Italy. The first train to arrive was actually late, an unusual event during the era. Benito Mussolini was at the height of his power, when he was a revered leader in Italy and highly respected around the world. Wiley Post and Harold Gatty completed their round-the-world flight in a record eight days 16 hours. Rudy Vallée was secretly married in West Orange, New Jersey to actress Fay Webb. One of the top stories in the news for the New York Area that week involved King Prajadhipok and Queen Rambaibarni of Siam, who attended a game at Yankee Stadium so they could have their picture taken with Babe Ruth!

To put into perspective how things have changed in the last 85 years, the average cost of a new home that year was $6,790, while the average wage per year was $1,850. A gallon of gas cost 10 cents, while new car prices averaged $640. You could buy a loaf of bread for eight cents and a pound of ground beef was 11 cents.

Throughout the rest of 2016, we will bring you articles from our past issues through the decades, as we celebrate this milestone for our paper and share our memories with you, our valued readers.

As we celebrate eighty-five years of serving the Italian American community, the staff of the Italian Tribune family gathered at the home office in Montclair, New Jersey. Pictured from left are Carl Camasta, wine columnist; Marion Alagna Fortunato, Food & Travel Editor; Louis Smeriglio, printing and circulation; Carl Houser, Advertising Director; David Cavaliere, Editor-in-Chief; Pamela Davidson, Art Director; Carmine Manna, Staten Island Representative; Michael Manna, Staten Island Representative and Uncle Floyd Vivino, columnist. Seated are Joan Alagna, Managing Editor and the Publisher, Buddy Fortunato.

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