Feast of San Gennaro
Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:49AM
Lisa in Away, Festivals, Little Italy, New York

Frank and I have been visiting New York for a few days and while we were in town we decided to visit the Feast of San Gennaro, Patron Saint of Naples. Immigrants from Naples brought their tradition of celebrating San Gennaro's Feast Day with them to the new world, with the first in New York City happening along Mulberry Street in 1926. Originally observed only on the feast day, September 19, it has now stretched to an eleven day annual festival.

Frank and I started at Houston and wandering south down Mulberry Street, which is closed to traffic for the festival. Everywhere you look things were festooned in green, white and red, the colors of the Italian flag.

Although the food vendors had just about anything you could think of, Italian specialties, like sausages with peppers and wood fired pizzas, were prominently featured.

On the dessert side we saw several delicious looking cannoli and torrone stands. 

Unfortunately, we were already stuffed from having just eaten at Kalustyan's, but I was set on getting a cannoli at the festival. My mind was changed, however, when we happened upon a cronut stand.

A cronut is a hybrid croissant-doughnut that was developed by Dominique Ansel for his bakery. Although these were clearly knock-offs they looked irresistible. Frank reasoned that getting one filled with cannoli cream would be a good substitute for a cannoli and I was sold. As a person who loves her sweets and has high standards for my sugar filled treats, it is not lightly that I say that this was one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. 

Mixed among the food and souvenir stands there were also a number of booths featuring carnival games.

Several restaurants set up covered seating along the street for people to get out of the sun and enjoy a meal or drink.

After walking all day, Frank and I were enticed to make a stop at one of the covered tents and relax with a few drinks: him with a cold Peroni and me with a glass of homemade sangria.

Refreshed after our drinks we continued walking south along Mulberry Street.

As we neared Canal Street off to the right was Most Precious Blood Church, where a celebratory high mass is held on the official feast day, September 19, followed by a religious procession with the statue of San Gennaro through the streets. A second procession with colorful floats and music, called the grand procession, had been held the Saturday prior to our arrival in New York. 

Although we didn't have a chance to see either processional, Frank and I did enjoy the festive atmoshphere at the Feast of San Gennaro and had a great time wandering around people watching. We also learned our lesson that we should have shown up hungry!

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