25 September 2011

Feast of San Gennaro - New York

Normally I steer clear of the parades, marches and festivals in New York to avoid pedestrian overload but I was talked into checking out the 85th Annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy this year. Originating in 1926 to honor the Patron Saint of Naples, San Gennaro has expanded from a "one day street festival to 11 day gala" that takes over Mulberry Street from Canal to Houston, to Grand and Hester Street between Mott and Baxter. Merchants and residents fought to rid the festival this year (due to unwanted traffic and blame to loss of sales), however it was overturned in March when Mayor Bloomberg granted a permit to keep the festival in tow.

Starting on September 15-25, sausage, torrone and pizza filled the streets alongside cornicellos and Jersey Shore slang t-shirts that hung from vendor stands.  The current festival has somewhat left behind the authenticity of Italian culture where fried oreos were sold and Winnie the Pooh dressed as Rastas were carnival prizes throughout the overcrowded streets.  I was even convinced into taking a ride on the relatively safe ferris wheel that landed in the middle of Grand Street.  Who knows if I'll be attending anymore of these festivals this year, but I just think of what a New Yorker passing by had said to me, "there's nothing wrong with acting like a tourist"... at least for a day.

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