Today marked the opening day of the 87th Annual Feast of San Gennaro in NYC’s Little Italy. Events run through September 22, 2013. A combination religious and cultural festival, this celebration dates back to September 19,1926 when immigrants from Naples paid homage to their patron saint as they settled into this old NYC neighborhood.
The over weeklong festivities include grand processions, celebratory Masses, parades, marching bands, musical acts on various stages and the statue of San Gennaro is dramatically carried through the streets by the faithful. This year’s Grand Marshalls will be former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo. Parish priest Father Fabian continued the opening day tradition with the Blessings of the Stands and the Streets. The Cannoli Eating Competition also launched today’s opening festivities at a performance stage on the corner of Grand and Mott Streets.
Lunch and dinner crowds saw most restaurants had extended their tables to the streets as staffs hawked and enticed passerby’s to try their venue. Be forewarned—there’s lots of eating at this celebration. Visitors are advised to pace themselves. Some foods that you might want to sample: Gelato, Tiramisu, fried Oreos, Zeppole (fried dough with confection sugar), Pork Braciole (thinly pounded pork rolled up with garlic, cheese, pepper and oregano), various types of pasta, sauces and delicious sausages and peppers.
If traveling with children, use a carrier or a compact stroller, especially over the weekend when the crowds are the heaviest. Start at Mulberry and Canal Streets to watch the processions and take in the music. If you need a break from the crowds, slip inside the beautiful Most Precious Blood Church. Meditate and light a candle. If you are feeling lucky, try your luck at one of the many carnival games on the main and side streets. For history buffs, the Italian American Museum is a treasure trove inside of a small storefront nestled among the Mulberry Street eateries. And of course, remember, this historic neighborhood is also a part of NYC’s famed Chinatown. So, try not to be tempted to eat everything!