Little Italy in Manhattan NY

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Little Italy remains Little Italy

The heart of Little Italy is Mulberry Street. In the second half of the 19th century, New York City's Italian immigration reached its peak, with several Italian parishes and an Italian-language newspaper.

Generations of Italian-Americans made their homes here, and while a fair number remain, much of the area has been pressured and repopulated in recent years due to expanding SoHo and Chinatown. Mulberry Street’s many Italian restaurants and Grand Street’s Italian food stores and fresh dairy products still draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Stop in for fresh mozzarella at DiPalo Fine Foods or Alleva Dairy, and get imported delicacies at the Italian Food Center. Have an espresso, cappuccino, and a wide variety of pastries after a fine meal at one of the Italian caffés. There are also numerous festivals throughout the year, with the Feast of San Genarro the best-known.

Fortunately gone are the days of drive-by shootings and questionable activities in "social clubs." While the area remains a center of Italian-American culture, one wonders just how long it will be before the overheated real estate market pounces on the area’s remaining slices of Europe.

Little Italy Attractions and Landmarks

The Police Building (240 Centre Street) - Built in 1909, this building was the main police headquarters for over 60 years, but it is now co-op apartments.

Old Church of St. Patrick (Mott Street between Prince & Houston) - this was the original St. Patrick's Cathedral, but is now a parish church

Landmarks include Old St. Patrick's Church and the Police Building. It's a popular neighborhood, filled with old-world atmosphere and many excellent eateries, among them Umberto's Clam House, Da Nico, Casa Bella and Original Vincent's. Mid-September is a great time to visit for the most exciting annual event in the neighborhood: the ten-day Feast of San Gennaro. During this celebration, Mulberry Street is renamed Via San Gennaro and the shrines and relics of this saint are paraded through the streets. The crowds enjoy Italian foods of all types, rides, games, entertainment and audience-participation singing and dancing.

Not so long ago, only a few noteworthy shops dotted the landscape east of Broadway in Lower Manhattan. The neighborhood known as NoLIta—or North of Little Italy—seemed almost quaint. Then, during the mid-1990s, many designers from SoHo and TriBeCa turned tiny pizzerias and shoe-repair shops into stores to purvey their innovative creations. Soon, number of boutiques blossomed on Mulberry, Mott and Elizabeth streets, offering one-of-a-kind designer goods.

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