Little Italy was the locale of the Corleone family depicted in the Godfather trilogy. Enjoy an orange, and keep your eyes peeled…
Little Italy earned its name, quite simply, by being full of Italians. It used to be like an insular Neapolitan village recreated in Manhattan, with its own language, customs and financial and cultural institutions. However, after World War II Chinatown to the south began to expand, eating into Little Italy’s territory. Today it really is little, made up of just three blocks on Mulberry Street.
It may have shrunk, but those three blocks retain their old world charm and hold a serious concentration of restaurants and cafés. It’s certainly touristy, but if you know where to look you can still find a slice of Italy. For a rustic take on Italian cuisine, head to “Peasant”, where everything is cooked in a wood-fired oven and served to you on clay earthenware. You will be transported to the Tuscan hillsides.
Afterwards, move on to “Ferrara Bakery and Café”, the first espresso bar in America. It opened in 1892, but still does much the same thing: cannolis and cream puffs, gelato and cookies, and of course cappuccino — though don’t ask for one after 11am…
The Good Life
The Feast of San Gennaro is an 11 day festival that takes place every September along Mulberry Street. It celebrates Italian culture and the Italian-American community. Expect food, drink, parades, and zeppole — a deep-fried dough ball, filled with custard, or butter and honey, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
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