This month, Little Italy will come alive again in celebration of the 90th Annual San Gennaro Feast. It will run for 11 days from Thursday, September 15th, through Sunday, September 25th. The festival will feature some of the most authentic Italian delicacies and traditions anywhere in the world outside of Italy. It opens at 11:30 AM every day and closes at 11 PM Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
A Toast to Old New York at the San Gennaro Feast
A Storied History
In 1926, Italian immigrants began a tradition that centered around the commemoration of Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples, on his feast day of September 19th.
On this day, there is a special Mass at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood on Mulberry Street. Immediately afterwards, they hold a grand procession through Little Italy for observance of the Statue of San Gennaro.
Community leaders, elected officials, and other important figures will be marching alongside floats and dedicated organizations. A marching band will also parade along the route that starts at the corner of Mulberry and Canal, heading north to Houston.
Eleven Days of Excitement
For eleven days in September, Little Italy is expected to see an increase in capacity from an expected one-million attendees. It is where Italian-American culture is honored in full display with out-of-this-world old-school Italian cooking and live entertainment.
This annual festival is known worldwide as being home to unbeatable sausage, zeppole, gelato, pizza, and funnel cake. Aside from the street vendors, the renowned Italian restaurants of Mulberry Street are all open for business.
A Festival Guide
For the perfect date night, get a table on the sidewalk at Lunella Ristorante where you can feast on the city’s best Clams Oreganata and Ossobuco. We suggest following it up with a cannoli and an espresso from Ferrara Bakery & Café. Take to the streets afterwards and stroll the grounds under the bright green and red themed decorations.
Since 1996, the Figli di San Gennaro (Children of San Gennaro), a non-profit community group, has put on this event to promote awareness of Italian heritage.
For families, besides all the amazing food, there will be parades, games, craft vendors, live music, and, of course, the famous cannoli-eating contest. In 2014, they even had the world’s largest cannoli on display.
The festival stage at the corner of Grand and Mott Street will host lectures, bands, and food demonstrations every day from 2 to 5 and live music from 7 to 9 every night. Radio shows from stations like WCBS 101.1 FM and Sirius XM will also routinely stream live broadcasts onstage.
The Feast of San Gennaro is one of the last remnants of old Manhattan and the traditions of our ancestors. It is a celebration of culture and history that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.