Chestnut Street / Kennedy Drive
(prob. Cogoleto, Republic of Genua, c. 1451 - Valladolid 1506)
Italian explorer, who in Spanish service completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of America
(see Background Information)
Granite bust on pedestal, similar to the buste in North Arlington.
A Statue of Christopher Columbus is Dedicated
And Given to the Township of Nutley by UNICO
NJ Hometown News, Oct. 12  -- "People may still argue over the positive and negative results of Christopher Columbus' voyages, but what is indisputably significant is that this man was responsible for the most important event in human history since the ice age." Dr. Frank Cocchiola said, speaking for UNICO at Sunday's unveiling and dedication ceremony on the front lawn of Town Hall.
A statue of Christopher Columbus, commissioned by the Nutley UNICO Chapter, was formally dedicated by its president, Gerald Tolve, in an emotionally stirring program Sunday afternoon. More than 100 persons [including my brother, my sister, my brother-in-law and myself! PvdK] watched and listened as a variety of speakers representing the township, state and the federal government participated in the 40-minute ceremony.
Sam Battaglia presided over the program that also heard from some of Nutley's earliest Italian-American families.
"We all know of the discrimination many of our families went through, but now is the time to join together and recognize the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus and those who followed him to this nation," Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano said.
"This is a special day for our entire society as we all have adopted Christopher Columbus as the first Italian-American," DiGaetano added.
Others who spoke took note that Columbus was not always a successful man.
"He died a broken man in relative obscurity," Pat Ritacco reflected after reading a published poem "New Work Master."
Congressman Bill Pascrell also took note of the discrimination faced by the early Italian-Americans: "I am deeply committed to reversing the insults and prejudices suffered by Americans held in detention during World War II, a fact that is only now coming to light."
And as recent as the post World War II years, efforts to dedicate a Christopher Columbus statue in Nutley near
Town Hall or in the township park system were blocked by influential citizens at the time.
"Because of Columbus, a door was opened that linked two worlds," Mario DiMaggio noted in his remarks.
"Columbus gave us a bridge that was first crossed by people - but later crossed by ideas that made ours the greatest nation on earth."
Assemblyman John Kelly asked those at the dedication "to look around this area in front of Town Hall. We have monuments here memorializing the death of a President, the sinking of a submarine, and those who were killed in World Wars I and II. But today, we dedicate the best monument we have on this lawn - the one and only monument that reflects something good. Be proud of this man Christopher Columbus. He indeed did change the world."
Others who spoke included Monsignor Peter Zaccardo, UNICO chaplain; Commissioner Mauro Tuccic; Freeholder Dr. Joseph Scarpelli; Frank Vespa who chaired the Columbus Day Parade held later the same afternoon; Senator Garry Furnari who noted that Kelly was responsible for making the initial monetary donation to launch the fund drive for the statue; Larry Costello, UNICO's sergeant at arms, and of course, Gerald Tolve.
The UNICO dedication committee included, in addition to those already mentioned, Steve Mairella, James Piro, Dan Marese, Anthony Biondi, Thomas J. Sposato and Lenny Guglielmello.
Officers of UNICO are Gerard Tolve, president; Frank Cocchiola Jr., first vice president; Steve Mairella, 2nd vice president; Pat Ritacco, 3rd vice president; Alan Genitempo, secretary; Thomas Sposato, treasurer; Larry Costello, sergeant-at-arms, and Monsignor Peter Zaccardo, chaplaink.
UNICO thanked Lenny Gugliemello, Pete Scirica and Chris Bisano who donated their time to building the foundation, and Joe Esposito who erected the Columbus statue. Calicchio Landscaping Inc. donated its services as well.
Before the ceremony
(I am the one in the center making photographs).
In front of this new monument there is an older one, a plaque with the text on the 10th Columbus Day.
1451 - 1506
We hereby acknowledge
Whose persistence and
courage opened the
door to a new world
Presented to the
Township of Nutley
October 8, 2000
Nutley Chapter of
- André Iwanczyk, sculptor.
Sources & Information
Locatie (N 40°49'6" - W 74°9'30") (Satellite view: Google Maps)
Item Code: usnj05;
Photograph: 8 October 2000
© Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt
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