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Happy Birthday Romana Raffetto- Support Your Local Small Businesses!

Romana and Andrew Raffetto

Happy Birthday to Romana Raffetto, owner of Raffetto’s Pasta located at 144 West Houston Street. Romana was born in a small town in Italy in 1932 called Asolo, known as the “city of a hundred horizons” because of the beautiful landscapes surrounding this medieval town. She moved to the Village in 1957, and has lived here ever since. Some of the quotes from her oral history with GVSHP below are similar to what we hear on a regular basis from long time Village residents:

“When I came up with the neighborhood, it was a lot of family, a lot of older people. Today it’s changed. This street, it was all family… this block was practically all Italian. Sullivan Street, on the other side, was a lot Italians living there. But now it’s just completely changed, because this side’s become a luxury building. The other side, now the Japanese built a big building. The fantastic theater left. We used to go there. Then there was also the funeral home. The building collapsed….It changed so much that now you go out the door, you don’t know anybody. At one time, you used to say hi, and even there was a guy sitting outside with a chair. Sometime I feel like doing it myself [laughs]. Nobody else does it…. And you greeted each other, and you gossiped with each other. It was more friendly. Now it is all strangers. All strangers. And of course the ones that walk around always are like—”

She didn’t finish that sentence. I’ll let you fill in the blank.

The Raffetto's building at 144 West Houston Street
The Raffetto’s building at 144 West Houston Street

Romana’s son Andrew, who also participated in the oral history with GVSHP, also laments the loss of other local small businesses:

“The one thing I would comment about the present-day Village that’s a little sad, I have an opportunity to come to work and experience it. And we own the building. We could always live here if we wanted. But I think the opportunity for people to experience it is just becoming more and more difficult with all the rents. And it’s just not the same. When the rents of the stores are the same, then you don’t have a little bakery or a little doughnut shop. It’s all chain things.”

Help GVSHP support local businesses. Read about the GVSHP Business of the Month program here and nominate your favorite local business here. (Raffetto’s was awarded a GVSHP Village Award in 2004). The Raffetto’s building, located at 144 West Houston Street, is included in the State and National Registers of Historic Places Designation Report.

Read more about Andrew Raffetto’s oral history here. Click here to access other South Village oral histories. Read more about the history of the South Village here.


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