Frank Seddio’s St. Joseph’s Day is a throwback to old Canarsie
Growing up in Canarsie meant that St. Joseph’s Day was always a big celebration for Hon. Frank Seddio. So when he and then-law partner Frank Carone started a law firm together in 2007, they wanted to recapture some of that old neighborhood spirit and started a tradition that has stretched for 11 years now.
Every year Seddio, chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, invites about 500 people from Brooklyn, including judges, politicians and neighbors, to his house on Flatlands Avenue to celebrate St. Joseph’s Day.
“It’s organized happiness,” Seddio said. “Well, it’s more like disorganized happiness. People come in, have a good time, talk; everyone likes the food. There is plenty to eat, plenty to drink. What can be better than that?”
For a Sicilian-American like Seddio there isn’t much better than cooking food for friends.
Approaching the house, a person can smell the fried fish and calamari cooking on the lawn. Once you walk inside, past the salads and pastries, there is a smorgasbord of Italian and Sicilian dishes made by Seddio and his friends. His favorites are pasta con sarde and eggplant.
“Rebecca (Schneier) is my sous chef; she helps me more than anybody else,” Seddio said. “She’s my main cook. She keeps me organized, keeps me moving. She makes sure we eat.”
Seddio has five people helping him to prepare the feast, starting on Sunday the week before. They begin that day by making sauces including clam sauce, marinara sauce and meat sauce.
Throughout the day, people stop in for anywhere between five minutes and a few hours. About 500 people in total come throughout the day. They include anybody from state politicians like Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli or Attorney General Letitia James to local politicians like Assemblymembers Walter Mosley and Rodneyse Bichotte. A long list of city councilmembers stop by as well, including Justin Brannan from Bay Ridge.
“It’s great food,” said Justice Lawrence Knipel, administrative judge of the Supreme Court, Civil Term, when asked why the event attracts so many people. “Everything is wonderful and every year more people come. This is the biggest turn out ever.”
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