I was having lunch with a friend on Arthur Ave. last week & it hit me. If you’re not from the Northeast or you simply haven’t been, Arthur Avenue is the Bronx’s Little Italy. It’s got the most authentic Italian restaurants and grocers and an indoor market that resembles an outdoor street market in Rome with sausage makers to bread bakers and cafes to florists. But my visit taught me more about my job as a Dad than how to get the best prosciutto.
I went to high school a few blocks down the road and it was my 1st time back on Arthur Avenue in about 25 years. The smell, the pace, the walk-up clam bar, the taste of the fresh mozzarella…Madone! Nothing’s changed! It’s amazing that it is still THE place that Italian-Americans go for the best of what they need. It first hit me from a social media perspective, in that they’re constantly adding to their huge fan base. But more importantly I learned 3 things there that clearly carry over in the quest to a better parent:
Know your family – On Arthur avenue, they know their customer. They know what she expects and why she puts her faith in them. Italians are all about famiglia. Generations of customers wouldn’t trust them unless they felt that they were being taken care of and understood. Likewise, I hope that I’m doing my fair share at home so that my family feels that they are being taken care of and understood.
Tradition – There is such an understanding of Italian history and culture in that slice of the Bronx which is what draws it’s people together. It’s the sense of belonging to the group and the pride which comes with that which is so utterly important to Arthur Avenue’s visitors and residents. I hope my kids, as well, carry such respect for who they are and find strength in where they come from.
Passion – Many years ago Joe Pesci was working on Arthur Avenue when Robert DeNiro spotted him & noticed his overwhelming energy. Pesci’s enthusiasm and passion launched his career and such similar excitement can be found all over the avenue. Love what you do and let is show. Such energy is contagious and it shows your kids that not only are you the architect of your own destiny, but you should be enjoying the ride.