About Us


The Little Italy Association, (herein also referred to as "LIA"),  is a NY non-profit corporation and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. 


LIA  has the consent of the Department of State and the NY State Attorney General, to act as a district  management corporation, and to undertake efforts to commemorate and revitalize the Little Italy Historic District, located along the Lyell Avenue Corridor, in the City of Rochester, New York.  (See district map in the downloads section).

Donations  made to the Little Italy Association are fully tax deductible, and help fund our organization's mission and cause.  

LIA works with, and advocates on behalf of, district area residents and business owners, in the areas of public safety; beautification; business improvement; promotion; revitalization and economic development. 

Rochester's Little Italy Historic District has over 150 Years of History!

Please  see the "Downloads" section of this website, for a detailed Historical Narrative about  the Italian-American community's 150 year history of settlement and migration along the Lyell  Avenue Corridor. 

City of Rochester Historian Blake McKelvey's interesting and informative article, entitled: "The Italians of Rochester, an Historical Review," may also be found in the Downloads section.

The Little Italy Association's Mission, Goals & Vision

Rochester has a very rich and diverse history.  Italian immigrants made many positive contributions to the development of the City of Rochester, in the 19th and 20th centuries, and even today, in particular throughout the Lyell Avenue and Jay Street corridor, which saw the bulk of Italian-American settlement and migration, from the early 1900's to today.  

Our idea is for the Lyell area to become an inclusive, safe, and attractive "living storybook" in our city's NW Quadrant, which re-tells the area's rich and diverse history, from its beginning to today.  

The implementation of new public art, piazzas, special events, and other public amenities, along with public realm improvements, would help transform the area into a true destination place, and enable it to attract new business, housing and retail investment.  

By attracting new investment to the area, fixing its dilapidated public realm; and harnessing purchasing dollars to the area, it will help alleviate the area's poverty, crime, social and unemployment issues.  

Focusing on the area's true historical identity, rather than any current negative connotation which may be associated with Lyell area, is also an important aspect of our "place-making" initiative and revitalization efforts.  It provides the community with a more positive identity to rally behind, as we work together to revitalize this major NW Gateway Corridor of our city.  It is a genuine form of Economic Development, and a model that could also be used for other historic neighborhoods across the City.

While we are not attempting to build an Italian neighborhood again in the Lyell Avenue and Jay Street area, we are however, attempting to bring about an inclusive revitalization initiative for the area, which will commemorate over 150 years of Italian-American history, in the form of an "historic district", to remember the "Old Neighborhood", with an eye on the future, which will include restaurants and shops of all cultures, for the benefit and enjoyment of the entire community.



Our mission is to commemorate the rich history of Rochester's 150 year-old "Little Italy Historic District", and to promote and facilitate its revitalization, development, preservation and restoration, to benefit all cultures in the district area, and for the entire community to enjoy.  

Our efforts are modeled upon the very successful Little Italy in San Diego, California.  Please visit:  www.LittleItalySD.com for more information on their "Community Benefit District model.  

The Lyell Corridor is the primary North West Gateway into the City of Rochester, and it ushers-in thousands of people each day to  Downtown  Rochester.  The area is ripe for revitalization and investment, and its current state of affairs affects neighboring projects, such as the city's new "ROC the Riverway" project; the adjacent High Falls District; the Genesee Brewery; the Greentopia Eco-District, and the new "MCC Student Campus" operating next  door at Kodak on State  Street.  

Our mission also includes helping the less fortunate, by raising funds to benefit other 501 (c)(3) charities, which serve the needs of children and the elderly, as well as the hungry, poor, needy and homeless. 


Our goals include, but are not limited to, the following:  

1) Attracting new business, housing and retail investment to the area; 

2) Helping create jobs and promoting greater economic prosperity;  

3) Raising funds for the needy, hungry, homeless and less fortunate;  

4)  Helping alleviate poverty through economic development, job training,  and by promoting entrepreneurship and education;  

5) Promoting recreational, cultural, sport and culinary opportunities;  

6)  Fostering unity, solidarity and collaboration within the community; 

7) Promoting cultural exchange and information-sharing, and most importantly, promoting diversity, warmth and inclusiveness.   


Our  longer-term vision foresees some very exciting developments, such as a  new downtown "Little Italy Welcome Center"; a Little Italy Federal Credit Union; an authentic Italian Café and Retail Market, which would feature coffee, beverages, and walkable access to fresh food for area residents and visitors; an arts theatre and conference center; a Little Italy Sunday Farmer's Market; and a new Little Italy Newsletter, to be published quarterly, with news updates on the area's exciting events, programs, and store openings, as well as other interesting initiatives, which could enrich the lives of all Rochesterians.  

The Rochester area is ranked 2nd in NY State, and 9th in the entire nation, for its number of Italian-Americans.  The  Italian culture continues to flourish in Rochester, and many other new cultures are also migrating to the area.  They utilize the same Lyell Avenue Corridor as a place to first settle-into when they arrive.  They seek the American Dream, just as the Italians did, and still do, to this day.    

A  fantastic "Little Italy Festival" was held on Aug 12 & 13, 2017, for the first time in over 30 years in Downtown Rochester, demonstrating the strength of the Italian-American community.  It was ranked as a "Best Cultural Festival" of Rochester, by the readers of City Newspaper. 

The 5th Annual Little Italy Festival was held on June  16, 2018, at Marina Auto Stadium, to celebrate the official 150th Anniversary of Italian American community in the City of Rochester (1868 - 2018).  The event succeeded in its mission of being the first major public event held in the Lyell area in over four decades, and it helped draw attention to the Lyell area's urgent need for revitalization.

Our most sincere hope is that all those who collaborate with our association, and participate in our programs, feel the true warmth and friendship of the Italian-American people and culture.

In October 2018, our exciting Little Italy Revitalization Initiative received national recognition, and was named "Rochester's Best New City Center Revitalization Strategy," by Revitalization: The Journal of Urban, Rural and Environmental Resilience, which is published by a leading urban planning group from the Washington, D.C. area.  Read all about it by clicking on the following web-link: 


On June 2, 2019, (Italian Republic Day -- "Festa della Repubblica"), we will hold our first-ever "Little Italy Street Festa", presented by Cinzano, a global wine and spirits brand from Torino, Italy, established in 1757.  We are very honored that such major global brands from Italy are interested in supporting our efforts, public events, and programs in Rochester, NY.

The "Cinzano Little Italy Street Festa" will feature delicious food and entertainment, and Rochester City Council will officially designate the Little Italy Historic District at 2:00pm that day, preceded by a wonderful Grand Procession.  For full details please visit the "Festival" page on this website, or visit our Facebook page.

Please follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for updates about our exciting programs and events.   @LittleItalyROC


Thank you sincerely for your kind support!  

Grazie tante e cordiali saluti a tutti!


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 Donations are tax deductible.  

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