If you have seen my Instagram you will know that for the past week I have been frequenting the Feast of San Gennaro. This resulted in about 2 lbs. of weight gain, but its all good, because it was totally worth it. Not my first time at this rodeo.
Now, to give you a bit of the history – the feast of San Gennaro has been hitting the streets of Little Italy for the past 89 years. If you are not familiar, Little Italy is a small neighborhood in Manhattan that served as a settlement for Italian American immigrants in the early 1900’s. These early settlers wanted to preserve traditions of their home land and thus they celebrated Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples. San Januarius feast day is September 19th based on the Roman Catholic calendar, and on that day there is a religious procession along Mulberry Street. What started off as a one day affair, now spans over two weeks every September and includes many festivities, carnivals, food, live music and much more.
Let’s get to the good part, shall wee. The FOOD! Since I am lucky enough to work right around the area, I have a chance to take my lunch breaks whilst strolling down Mulberry Street and witnessing all of the action. First thing is first – Sausage and Peppers! My spot is Lucy’s Palace. They carry a wide variety of grilled meats, starting with sausage and continuing on to bracciole, grilled chicken, kebabs and more. But it does not stop there, they also have many toppings for your sandwiches – you name it and they got it! Roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, long hots, and even stuffed artichokes. I opted for the classic sausage and peppers and let me tell you – I was not disappointed. They have sweet and hot sausage to choose from and whatever topping that you might like. I stayed with the basics and definitely did not take my time with this sandwich as it was gone in a matter of minutes.
If you are more of a bracciole person, then there is a place for you. Johnny Fassulo’s Sausage and Bracciole is a place to go for some pork! They are regulars at the feast, reliably located on the corner of Grand Street and Mulberry. If you come after 12 pm, expect to wait in line, as these guys carry a fan club. Customer service is great, they will cook your meat to your liking. I like mine nicely charred and they are always happy to oblige.
Lets move on to the most important food category of the feast – PIZZA! There are lots of pizza stands through out the fair, however there are very few that are brick oven. Usually I take my business to Rubirosa, however I decided to switch it up this year. My bestie and I went to Gelso and Grand and got ourselves a nice little pepperoni pizza. We were not disappointed and we almost fought for the last slice.
Once done with our pizza we decided to take a stroll and sight see and simultaneously burn off our calories. However, that was not what ensued. We came across a lemonade stand and being that it was 86F we could not resist. Take a look for yourself and tell me if you could have turned down this goodness.
Now this beauty below can apparently be made alcoholic if you are in the mood, or can be given to you virgin. I have not tried it yet, but it is definitely on my agenda for next year.
Aside from the feast featuring Italian fare, there are plenty of other options that I took the liberty in sampling. Just to name a few – stop by for some pickles from Pickle me Pete’s, Mozzarepas,a sea food stand that features sea food in all variations possible, kebab’s, corn on the cob, spinach feta pies and more. Take a peek at my pics below and tell me you are not salivating.
There is also dessert. Yes there is! Did you really think that this feast can happen without a healthy dose of some Zeppolis or Cannolis? But there is more than just those two. You won’t lack in choice at this feast, as it features everything from cannolis to zeppolis, to macaroons (which was consumed by yours truly twice!), chocolate covered goodness, pastries and of course the all famous torrone statues! As I mentioned above I only had time for some macaroons and a cannoli. Both totally delicious, but my heart belongs to the macaroons.
Wait, we are not done just yet. If you are really not into “street food”, there are plenty of sit down restaurants too. Every year during the Feast of San Gennaro, they spill out onto Mulberry street, provide outside seating, special menus and an ambiance that will definitely make you feel as if you traveled back to the early 1900’s New York City. I had a chance to take one snap of Peroni’s to give you an idea.
Okay, okay, we are done with food. However, there is plenty more to cover! The feast provides plenty of entertainment for the little ones. There are multiple rides, games, characters and just an over all festive mood. Believe me, kids will love it there! How can they not, when there is a tower of sweets in front of them :).
Last, but never the least – SHOPPING! Aside from the usual logo t-shirts, dresses,shirts, small accessories, pictures – there are a few things that caught my eye in particular. Street Fair Cosmetics was the first shopping stop for me and I can’t believe that I have never caught wind of this one years before. They provide you with endless drug store brand choices for all make up, skin care and nails. Since I was on the hunt for a fall “lippie”, this served its purpose! I stacked up on two lipsticks and I will do a feature on those in a separate post. I walked away a very happy camper, feeling accomplished and financially conscious as I snagged these babies for $5 a piece!
Next stop was to make my mama happy! Since she is obsessed with magnets this was the perfect opportunity for me to add to her collection. It was just a never ending spread of various magnets that are made in the shape of veggies, fruits and food. Made for an awesome picture.
If magnets or clothes are not your thing, not to worry, there is plenty more. Coasters, bracelets, jewelry and all sorts of other chachki’s are there, so hold on to your money as it will go fast!
I enjoy this feast every single year and it makes me sad when its over and Mulberry Street goes back to its usual. However, this gives me an opportunity to burn off all of those calories and plan for next year! I hope that this post will inspire you to check out the Feast of San Gennaro come September of 2016 and enjoy it for all its got!