Manducatis Rustica VIG
My story about Long Island City is like one of your favorite old movies; you know the kind of movie that has tried numerous times to be rediscovered over and over again but always ends up the same.
My name is Gianna Cerbone one of a few 3rd generations in Long island city. I am the chef and proprietor of Manducatis Rustica LIC and a Mom of two lovely children Antonio and Piero. I was born on Vernon Boulevard and still live on the “Boulevard”.
As we call it in LIC. Vernon Blvd. was the main street from the 40s to the late 80s. Until just recently, Jackson and now Center Boulevard are a bit more dominant over the last few years due to the housing development boom in LIC.
It was hard to see the old local residence in the neighborhood slowly move out to the suburbs, but there was still a good hand full that stayed behind with us. My father Vincenzo Cerbone raised a family and two restaurants from the ground up would say, “They will come back or new people will move in”.
He would say, “It’s an ideal location for any family.”
Why I love LIC much is the integration of old and new. Its history spans more than 360 years from its humble cobblestones to a modern-day hub. Her eclectic amount of restaurants and businesses on the boulevard makes up the LIC experience today!
What most people don’t know about LIC that went from Dutch farmlands of the 1640s to being known as the NY film industry home. Thank you to Silvercup Bakery Transformation in 1983, to today’s Silver Cup studios. Its vigorous change established itself as the largest Independent film and television production facility in the northeast. We always had a strong art community. We are fortunate to have PS 1 and the MOMA, and many other amazing local artists.
Another amazing bit of history people are not aware of is that the Chiclets factory, the XYZ zipper factory, and the Edison bulb were made here. NYC knew LIC as a perfect little industrial area convenient to Manhattan We had Fink bread, Loft candy on Vernon, Hoffmann beverage, Budweiser beer, Paragon paints, Ronzoni pasta, Zylaware eye ware, and The Daily News. Pepsi has long been recognized as the main manufacturer but they were in very good company as well as all the small businesses that were here to support all of these industries.
Picture this, Vernon blvd in the 1950’s with the first women of the auxiliary parade on a Saturday afternoon in the 60s families came from near and far to immigrate to a eight-block radius of families living side by side barbequing Sunday after church. 1970’s the streets were full of Cadillacs and Chevrolets and two Italian clubs the best Irish bars and One Italian restaurant that happened to be my dad's one of the first movies I remember being filmed was Crazy Joe Gallo, God I think Henry Winkeler must have been in his early 20’s. 1980’s that’s when my generation was running the streets Johnny on the Pony and Ring-o- Lario were the only dangerous things on the blvd despite what people say. The 1990s were like the industrial revolution in LIC in the exodus to the burbs and here we are today a History still in the making.
Sneakers hanging over the bridge and people sitting on the stoop that was my Long Island City