Italian American Landmarks: Church of St. Rocco in Glen Cove

This is the latest in a series of posts chronicling historic landmarks with ties to the Italian American community on Long Island.

The Church of Saint Rocco in Glen Cove is the oldest recognized Italian parish on Long Island and has been open for over 80 years. 

Italians settled in the Orchard Neighborhood in Glen Cove in 1890 and developed the Orchard House, which served as a center for the Italian community. This small facility served as a meeting space and eventually held Sunday masses led by Italian-speaking priests. 

As the community grew, there was a need for a larger church, so by 1933, the St. Rocco Society helped acquire land, and community members helped build the church designed by architect Michael Pascucci. 

In a fitting tribute, St. Rocco was modeled after a church in Sturno, Italy, a town in Avellino where many Glen Cove residents immigrated from in the early 1900s.

St. Rocco continues to be an important part of Glen Cove and Nassau County, and a large percentage of regular parishioners are of Italian descent. The “Feast of St. Rocco” brings thousands of people together annually and is considered one of the largest Italian feasts on the East Coast.

RELATED: Read about American Venice in Lindenhurst, NY

If you have ideas for other Italian-specific landmarks on Long Island for us to explore, please email [email protected].

Words and photos by Chris R. Vaccaro, Executive Director of the Italian American Heritage Society of Long Island