Volume 75, Number 38 | February 8 -14 2006

Villager photos by Elisabeth Robert

Lieutenant Petrosino Park at Kenmare St., above, and its namesake, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, below.

Park memorial for Black Hand officer to get a hand

Lieutenant Petrosino Square, a small, 7,000-square-foot triangle at Kenmare and Lafayette Sts., named for a legendary police officer, is slated for a $2 million renovation by the Parks Department. The currently little-used park, which has shifted and settled and taken on the look of an ancient ruin, is in serious need of an upgrade. Plans are to expand the park to the east, taking one of three lanes of a section of Lafayette St. that is only used by traffic making right turns from Spring St.

Said Carli Smith, a Parks spokesperson, “Although we are still in the preliminary planning for this renovation, we plan to work with the Department of Transportation to take a portion of Lafayette St. to expand the park. The main portion of traffic is on the other side of the park; therefore taking a lane of traffic will have no effect on the traffic flow on Lafayette St.”

As for when ground breaking on the project will occur, Smith said Parks won’t have a firm date until all the funding is secured.

The park’s namesake, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, was an immigrant from Salerno who became the New York Police Department’s first Italian-American detective. He was a member of the “Italian Squad,” an undercover unit of Italian-American officers who battled the Black Hand organized crime syndicate, deporting 500 of its members. He founded the Bomb Squad, today located in Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct, to counter the Black Hand’s use of explosives for extortion. Petrosino was killed in 1909 in Italy while gathering intelligence about the Black Hand. His funeral in New York City was attended by 200,000 people.

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