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It is impossible not to feel the rich history here in Little Italy NYC, as you walk along the narrow streets among turn of the century buildings. This small slice of Manhattan was a starting point for many Italian immigrants who fled Italy during the late 1800’s due to the country’s oncoming poverty and unemployment.
The area was initially a recreation of a Neapolitan village complete with its own language, rules, customs and financial institutions. After World War II, many of the residents of Little Italy began moving to Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey.
The neighborhood lies west of Bowery, east of Lafayette St., between Kenmare and Canal Streets and has always been a popular spot for both tourists and local residents.
Mulberry St. between Canal and Broome Streets is filled with Italian restaurants and various shops. You’ll find an unlimited number of authentic dining options here that many times feature handmade and homemade recipes dating back generations. If you’re looking for the best sole dishes or finest cannoli you’ll ever have, you’ve found it here. Several Italian food stores can be found along Grand Street, as well.
In September of every year, Little Italy is host to the San Gennaro festival which is the best known and longest running street festival in NYC. This 11+ day event attracts over a million people from New York and the rest of the world to the neighborhood. The streets are decorated for many blocks and the neighborhood becomes very festive. The festival features over 300 street vendors, arcade games and fun for children, including carnival rides.
Nolita (North of Little Italy), just blocks north of Little Italy along Mulberry St., was once considered a part of Little Italy, but many of the Italian residents have moved out of the area. Today many upscale boutiques and restaurants can be found here.
The traditions and personality of the neighborhood are very evident and you’ll find yourself captivated by it immediately.