Little Italy (see map) is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York City, that was once known for its large Italian community. Historically, Little Italy extended from Bleecker in the north to Bayard Street in the south, and from Lafayette in the west to the Bowery in the east. Over the last few decades, the character of Little Italy has diluted, as Italian Americans moved out to peripheral boroughs and neighborhoods.
It’s no surprise that out-of-towners flock to this bustling neighborhood, with its popular coffee shops and Italian restaurants, as well as the annual two-week celebration of all things Italian.
Today the character of Little Italy has been modified by the growth of Chinatown, which has absorb it with an influx of immigrants from China and other East Asian countries. Some parts of Little Italy have in fact ceased to appear Italian, among them the northern reaches near Houston Street, where Little Italy continues as NoLIta, an abbreviation for North of Little Italy. Today, the section of Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets, lined with Italian restaurants popular with tourists, remains distinctly recognizable as Little Italy.
The biggest celebration in Little Italy is the Feast of San Gennaro, a large street fair that last 11 days. It takes place every September along Mulberry Street between Houston and Canal Streets.
Other Italian American neighborhoods in New York City include Little Italy of the Bronx (on Arthur Avenue, in the Fordham section of The Bronx); Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; Howard Beach, Queens; Ozone Park, Queens; Middle Village, Queens; Morris Park, the Bronx and the whole borough of Staten Island, where 44.5% of the population is of Italian ancestry, the highest percentage of Italian-Americans in a county in the United States.
The Feast of San Gennaro
This 11-day festival honors the martyred 3rd-century bishop and patron saint of Naples, and it fills the streets of Little Italy every year. Watching the pros at the cannoli-eating competition will make you feel less guilty about indulging in calorific treats from the food vendors. Make a point of returning on a daily basis to see live musical performances. Mulberry Street is located between Canal and Houston Streets, and Grand and Hester Streets are located between Baxter and Mott Streets.
One of most critical question is also the most difficult to answer: which vendor merits the first snack? One of the most popular booths, Lucy’s Palace, makes teh greatest sausage-and-pepper sandwiches. Roll Up, which serves cheesy and meat-filled Italian egg rolls, isn’t afraid to deep-fry its treats until they’re super crispy. Alleva Dairy, the country’s oldest cheese shop, will provide chicken, eggplant, or meatball parmigiana for you to feast on. In addition, Caffé Palermo, the cannoli king, serves fried pastries and a unique almond-spun cheesecake cone.
NYC Mafia Locations
Little Italy has a strong connection to the history of the Mafia, both past and present. The most notorious mafia-related location in Little Italy is 129 Mulberry Street, where ‘Crazy’ Joey Gallo was shot dead in broad daylight on April 7, 1972. It was Umberto’s Clam House at the time.
Old Police Headquarters
From 1862 to 1909, before the massive HQ on Centre Street was built, this unassuming five-story apartment building was dubbed “America’s Scotland Yard” by the New York Times.
During these years, criminal and gang activity was rampant, and the police force devoted a significant amount of resources to combating the violence throughout the city.
One entire room in this building, dubbed the “Rogue’s Gallery,” was devoted to a collection of 7,000 photographs of the city’s criminals, which would be used to track down suspects.
Most Precious Blood Church
The Most Precious Blood Shrine Church is located at 113 Baxter Street, between Canal and Hester streets. The church structure was finished in 1904, and then interior decorations and sacred art were added.
Some of America’s finest examples of sacred art can be found at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood. Its marble main altar and side altars, all of which feature religious statuary, are works of art by Borgia Marble Works of New York.
Big city of dreams – Tristan Eaton graffiti
Museum of Chinese in America