New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Father Demo Square
Father Antonio Demo (1870-1936) was born on April 23, 1870, at Lazzaretto di Bassano in the province of Vicenza, Italy. His study at the diocesan and Scalabrinian seminaries was twice interrupted by mandatory military service. Father Demo immigrated to Boston to do missionary work in 1896 and arrived in New York to serve as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Pompei a few years later. In 1900 he was appointed pastor of the church, whose magnificent Italianate building stands northwest of the park at the corner of Bleecker and Carmine Streets.
As pastor, Father Demo was respected for his excellent organizational skills: record-keeping, establishing church groups, working with local charities, and raising funds. Under his leadership, Pompei expanded its liturgical music programs, opened a day care center, and held its first bazaar. In addition to serving as a spiritual counselor to his parishioners, Father Demo was active in social services - translating documents and conversations, finding jobs, making loans, aiding in the immigration process, and writing personal recommendations. His spiritual care was exemplified by his hard work and
In 1923 Father Demo learned that Sixth Avenue (now the Avenue of the Americas) was to be extended from West 3rd Street south to Canal Street to route traffic to the trans-Hudson River Holland Tunnel then under construction. Our Lady of Pompei’s building stood in the middle of the proposed street bed of Sixth Avenue. Father Demo organized the campaign to buy another property and to build a new church, rectory, and parochial school. Under the direction of general contractor and architect Matthew Del Gaudio, the cornerstone of the new building was laid on October 3, 1926, and the church was dedicated two years later, on October 7, 1928.
In 1935 Father Demo became Pompei’s pastor emeritus and superintendent of its parochial school. He died in 1936 in New York, and thousands of parishioners and friends, including Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, paid their respects to their beloved pastor. In 1941 the public plaza southeast of Our Lady of Pompei was improved by the Manhattan Borough President and named in memory of Father Demo by local law. Attended by numerous Greenwich Village, Italian, and parish groups, the dedication ceremony included the singing of the national anthem, speeches by city authorities, a parade to Washington
Fifty years after the cornerstone of the church building was laid, parishioners arranged for an inscription to be engraved on the base of the central lightpole in Father Demo Square. The site is assigned to Transportation and maintained by Parks. As in traditional town plans in Italy, Father Demo Square is a piazza - an open space surrounded by buildings and a gathering place for its community.
City of New York Parks & Recreation
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor
Adrian Benepe, commissioner
Erected 2007 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
Location. 40° 43.81′ N, 74° 0.124′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Bleeker Street, on the left when traveling north on Sixth Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10014, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Minetta Triangle (within shouting distance of this marker); Minetta Green (within shouting distance of this marker); Sir Winston Churchill Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Downing Street Playground (within shouting distance of this marker); Mascha Kaleko (within Minetta Playground (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of the San Remo Café (1925 - 1967) (about 400 feet away); West 4th Street Courts (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .
1. Official NYC Parks description. (Submitted on December 7, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. What's in a name? Fr. Demo Square. (Submitted on December 7, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Categories. • Churches & Religion • Parks & Recreational Areas •
More. Search the internet for Father Demo Square.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2019. This page originally submitted on December 7, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 35 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 7, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.