Food, Immigrants and Cultures Blend at the 91st Feast of San Gennaro
Today marks the 5th day of the annual 11-day San Gennaro Festival in Soho’s Little Italy area. Cannoli vendors, fresh gelato sellers, and colorful processions occupy the entirety of Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets in a flood of red, white, and green.
The event features an eclectic variety of food and culture. Framed by Soho’s cast-iron architecture, the festival blends the backdrop of old New York with contemporary concoctions in not just Italian, but Mexican, Asian and Cuban cuisines. “In a world with so many divisions, food makes everybody happy. There’s no boundaries with food,” said Anthony Curatola, one of the vendors, as he handed me a cheese calzone with a side of spicy sauce. At the festival, there is no apparent segregation or categorization: fried eggrolls feature next to assorted Italian cookies and cheese; wine and Pina Coladas fare equally well with visitors; bubbles and Cuban cigars are blown by the young and the old with the same joviality.
Community seems to exist, even in this temporary, ethnically diverse street fair – such is the magic of New York City.