"The Bocce Boys of Corona," published in Narratively, is a long-form history of a bocce court in Queens — and the inevitability of change that it’s come to represent.
Towards the end of the night, Nicky has gone home. A small group of middle-aged men enter the park, apparently from dinner at the Park Side. Dressed in tucked-in dress shirts and khakis, they stroll toward the court with a slight air of nostalgia. Men like these are a common sight in Spaghetti Park, Italian-Americans of the old guard visiting from other parts of Queens and Long Island, where families of the old Corona have made their new homes.Claudio, a popular player who lives just off the park, lets the men know that a game is about to start. The soft-spoken Dominican immigrant, who’s been playing bocce for the better part of a decade, has a seasoned face that somewhat resembles the president’s. At Spaghetti Park he’s been called “Obama” so nonchalantly that some players have never learned his real name.