Fancy a trip to Italy? Don’t fancy the drawn-out flight? This September, the 92nd Annual Feast of San Gennaro descends on SoHo serving up a platter of continental culture, directly on the doorstep of the condos at 70 Charlton. Calling this legendary street fair a feast is entirely appropriate. For 11 days, from Sept. 13 through 23, revelers can gorge on every aspect of Italian culture — including food, live music, and an unforgettable procession. Ready to take part? Andiamo!
It is an undisputed fact that Italy has some of the finest cuisine in the world. And, outside of Italy itself, NYC’s Little Italy is one of the best places to enjoy it. The Feast of San Gennaro gives you a fine excuse to indulge at food stalls heaving with a myriad of delights, including fried rice balls filled with vodka sauce and topped with ricotta cheese, steaming plates of clam spaghetti, and zeppoles (deep-fried balls of buttery heaven). The foodie highlight, though, has to be the infamous cannoli eating contest. Mounds of the cream-stuffed pastries are brought out on great platters and served up to daring contestants. Needless to say, it’s not the most refined culinary event you’ll witness, but it is a messy lot of fun. And the kids will be laughing all the way back to the condo.
Music to Make You Go “Bravo!”
The sounds of Italy ring out from the festival stage nightly: a veritable 11-day symphony that covers everything from Dean Martin standards, to earth-trembling opera renditions, to the solemn tones of High Mass. There will also be lashings of pop and rock to keep you boogying through the evening (and working off all those pizza-and-gelato-induced calories). Even just weaving through the throngs of people at the festival, your ears will pick up on the sweet melodies of lone accordions and mandolins. Close your eyes, and you could almost be in Napoli...
Don’t Forget San Gennaro, Per Favore
In the madness of it all, make sure to remember San Gennaro himself. Also known as Januarius I of Benevento, he is the patron saint of Naples, and this is his special occasion. The best time to celebrate him is on his feast day: Sept. 19. On this day, a mass is held for the saint in the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, before a fabulous procession pours out into the streets. Banners and floats bearing the saint’s likeness are paraded through Little Italy, accompanied by brass bands belting out traditional Italian tunes. If you only leave your SoHo condo for the Feast of San Gennaro once this September, make it for this joyous day. It’s no secret why this festival has been going strong for nearly 100 years. Prego!