San Gennaro

Mint Chocolate Chip Cannolis
Every year, loads of people swarm to Little Italy in late summer to experience the universal funness of a street fair in the form of the Feast of San Gennaro.  It's crowded.  It's smoky.  It's noisy.  It is also, above all, a quintessential New York cultural experience.

Obviously there are things that are not ideal about San Gennaro.  A lot of the food stalls are unauthentic clones of the same old thing that you see at any street fair.  Mozzarepas?  Not really Italian food.  Best cannoli in the world?  Wait, I thought there was a sign for the best cannoli in the world on the block before; "best" is irrelevant.  Rasta-bananas? words.

Then, there are also lots of things that are kind of magical about it too.  There is something deeply satisfying about having a piping hot Italian sausage sauteed with peppers and onions on chewy, crusty bread.  You wish you had a dozen pairs of eyes so you could see all the colorful baked goods, cannoli, and candied apples behind glass cases.  Lingering traces of memories on my tastebuds arise when I see an enormous block of torrone being chiseled at and sold by the pound.

Every year, there is also a very popular street fair in my neighborhood in Brooklyn called the Feast of Santa Rosalia, or the 18th Avenue Feast, in late August.  I was really disappointed that Santa Rosalia actually didn't happen this year due to vendor permit issues. In fact, my summer felt a little empty without an evening stroll through Santa Rosalia, sampling zeppole and getting the smell of roasted meats stuck in my hair.  Today, we bid farewell to San Gennaro and I definitely look forward to it again next year.