Mention New York’s Feast of San Gennaro, and most people probably think of street food with an Italian accent, heavy on the cannoli. But the festival, which runs this year from Sept. 10-20, also celebrates the tenacity of the early Italian immigrants n New York, as well as the Saint Day on Sept. 19 that will feature a celebratory Mass and religious procession.
But for most people, the real draws are the parades, musical entertainment and of course, the food.
More than 300 food and souvenir vendors set up shop along the festival route, which takes place along Mulberry Street from Canal to Houston Streets; on Grand Street between Mott and Baxter Streets; and on Hester Street, also between Mott and Baxter Streets.
Highlights include doo-wop, oldies and classic rock concerts; a pizza-eating contest (Sept. 16, and sorry, it’s only open to employees of local restaurants and cafes); and on Sept. 19, a live satellite radio broadcast featuring interviews and performances with legendary DJ Cousin Brucie. Many local Italian restaurants are participating, so go hungry and abstain from eating anything with red sauce for several days beforehand.
Little Italy has shrunk significantly over the past few years, in part due to the encroachment of Chinatown as well as inevitable development. More than a million people are expected to attend this year’s festival, certainly the granddaddy of New York Street fairs. With its emphasis on something other than knockoff handbags and vacuum cleaner parts, it’s certainly one of the better ones.
Check their website, sangennaro.org, for more information.
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