Divine dining: Bklynites chow down on Italian feast at W’burg Columbus-Day Giglio celebration

Divine dining: Bklynites chow down on Italian feast at W’burg Columbus-Day Giglio celebration
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It was a buffet of biblical proportions!

Hundreds of people flooded a Williamsburg street on Sunday for Columbus-Day Giglio, a scaled-down version of the massive feast that neighborhood Catholics celebrate for several days each July. And even though the party didn’t last as long as its summer counterpart, there was still plenty of food to go around, according to the leader of a nearby public-housing complex.

“I ate myself into oblivion,” said Cora Austin, president of the Lindsay Park tenants association.

Austin spent the day devouring her way down Lorimer Street, munching on clams, oysters, sausage, spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti, pizza, and garlic knots, all of which she washed down with plenty of wine from area restaurants, she said.

A group of Italian Williamsburgers began staging the one-day Giglio reprise ahead of Columbus Day six years ago, attempting to create a more intimate version of the annual summertime extravaganza that immigrants who migrated from Nola, Italy to the nabe started celebrating more than a century ago to honor St. Paulinus, who hailed from their tiny town.

The sister party’s centerpiece is a 45-foot Giglio tower — a little more than half the size of the main celebration’s 80-foot structure — comprised of scaffolding adorned with papier mâché and colorful decorations, which is hoisted in the air by a crew of men called the “Giglio Boys Club.”

After watching the big lift, Austin worked off some of her super-sized supper by dancing to Italian music in the street, where she soaked up the memorable day’s last moments, she said.

“It was a great affair,” Austin said. “It’s just wonderful for the people in the community.”

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill