Thursday, September 18, 2008

feasting at san gennaro

My office is right on the border of Chinatown, Little Italy, and SoHo, and the neighborhood is a profusion of commercialized cultures and a great location for shopping...and eating. Especially today! This week is Little Italy's San Gennaro Feast, in honor of Naples' patron saint. All of Little Italy's restaurants put out food tents on the sidewalks, and in the spaces between, vendors set up booths that sell everything from $2 Fuhgeddaboudit T-shirts to "decorative" Sponge Bob mosaic mirrors, blasting music ranging from Dean Martin to Usher. It is weird. And then there are the amusement rides and games. (Remember that episode of The Sopranos where Bobby and Paulie got into it because of that fair ride that almost killed one of the kids...yep, that's where they were.)

Well, today two friends, Jill and Tia, and I decided to take a walk around the festival during our lunch break. Here's what we saw:

I'm pretty sure this is Mott Street, and I know this faces north. (You're right -- that is the ESB in the distance. It's everywhere.) There are about half as many festive garland decorations up on a regular basis. Little Italy was all decked out in red, white, and green. And many, many American flags.

We thought about eating at this place, where they served Italian sausages the size of your arm. It smelled incredibly good. But we thought better of it.

Instead we got cheese pizza. Here I am with Tia, folding it like a man. (Do they have that commercial in your area? If not, look it up on YouTube; it's one of 2007's best ads.)

These beautiful bricks are something I'd never seen before: torrone. It's nougat with honey and nuts. Looks delicious. Maybe I'll have a bite tomorrow.

But today Tia and I opted for cannoli.

I did not see the Saint himself, but I did see a priest who was barreling toward the sausage stand. Maybe I'll seek out SG's booth during tomorrow's lunch break so I can staple a dollar to him like countless others have done before me.

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