By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 20, 2007 at 7:14 AM

Newark, N.J. -- I've noticed this in the past and it's clear to me now, again, thanks to a seven-hour layover at Liberty International Airport in Newark, across the Hudson River from Manhattan. It's always obvious when a Milwaukee-bound flight is about to board.

Maybe this is true for everyone regardless of their hometown, but I've also lived in New York and I can't say I've noticed it of flights headed to the Big Apple. An hour or so before a Milwaukee-bound flight departs, the gate suddenly fills with people in sweat pants, Packers T-shirts and our beloved Milwaukee accent, loaded as it is with traits derived from our Polish and German ancestors.

It's something that to be proud of. We're a distinct breed, us Milwaukeeans. We have our own style, our own voice, our own certain something. We can recognize each other easily. It's a bond.

Waiting for my flight for a long time -- just down the concourse from the Miller Brewhouse -- I saw planes depart from the same gate for St. Louis, Charlotte, Providence and other locations. Before boarding, most people sat talking, dozing or reading. But before the Milwaukee flight, all eyes were on the TVs broadcasting a football game (sorry, fellow citizens, this is one interest I don't share, so I can't tell you who was playing).

And in true Milwaukee style, I saw at least two cases of people from Milwaukee unsuspectedly encountering acquaintances from here. As I tried to explain to one person in Italy, Milwaukee is only slightly smaller than Turin, but it feels like America's biggest small town. It's rare to go anywhere here and not run into someone you know.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.