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Generations of New Years

By Diana Bowers-Smith

Posted on January 5, 2021

New Year's Day dinner toast by Larry Racioppo
New Year's Day dinner toast Larry Racioppo, New Year's Day dinner toast, 6th Avenue, 1977, RCPO_0005; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

Family history, memory, and tradition abound in the work of Larry Racioppo, including this evocative and joyful image of a family New Year’s Day toast.

Photographer Larry Racioppo grew up in a large Italian-American family in Brooklyn, and his family has always been well-represented in his work. We hold a collection documenting his work and career, and many of the photographs from the collection are available on our website. This image of a New Year’s Day dinner from the collection brings memories of large family gatherings, which we all hope to be able to resume this new year.

Racioppo has written many posts for our blog, including an especially poignant tribute to his mother and aunts titled “My Mother’s Sisters.” Some of those sisters are pictured in this week’s photograph. Racioppo writes, “These three women loved and nourished me my entire life…I think of them as individuals, and also as a foursome with my mother.” He writes about each sister in turn, including their deaths. The whole post is a beautiful reminder of how our beloved family members live on in memory, even when they are no longer with us.

The Center for Brooklyn History looks forward to welcoming you and yours at some point in the new year. Until then, we join you in both celebrating new beginnings and holding on to our past.

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We look forward to inviting you to CBH in the future to research in our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. In the meantime, please visit our resources page, available here or access the resources of the former Brooklyn Collection here. Our reference staff are still available to help with your research! You can reach us at [email protected].

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