Drinking on the streets in public? Little Italy brings you the 86th annual Feast of San Gennaro

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Life in New York City attracts people of all kinds. It has a unique way of embracing every culture. A beautiful example of this is the Feast of San Gennaro, which took place over eleven days from Thursday, September  13th through Sunday, September 23rd in Little Italy. The Feast of San Gennaro was originally a one-day religious commemoration for the Patron Saint of Naples that was started by a group of Italian immigrant families on Mulberry Street in September of 1926. Over time, the festival expanded into its current incarnation as an 11-day street fair, parade, and annual celebration of food and drink.

It is one of the most popular events each year in New York City, attracting crowds exceeding 1 million people during its run. The bustle of excitement extends along Mulberry Street, Hester Street, and Grand Street from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. The streets are decorated with festive banners and arches in green, white, and red, the colors of the Italian flag. Many famous Italian restaurants roll out the red carpet for visitors and provide outdoor dining facilities. The Feast also has a carnival element, with rides and a number of arcade games, as well as many other activities geared towards family fun. By far the biggest draw of the Feast is the more than 200 street vendors who set up shop along the Festival streets selling a wide variety of goods and merchandise, including international foods, official Little Italy souvenir items, and boutique merchandise such as jewelry and clothing. Oh, and of course it wouldn’t be the Feast of San Gennaro without piña coladas and daiquiris in tall souvenir cups that come with free refills.

Above: Images of the Feast, from hand-rolled cigars to carnival games to local craft goods to, immediately above, a man cutting open a coconut with a saw.

Photos: Jenny Kun