3. The Feast of San Genarro honors the patron saint of Naples along Mulberry Street

Feast of San Gennaro
Red, white, and green banners strung up for the Feast of San Genarro.

The Feast of San Gennaro is an annual celebration of Italian-American culture and cuisine centered along Mulberry Street in Little Italy. The festival’s origins date back to September 1926, when a group of immigrants from Naples erected a small chapel on Mulberry Street to house an image in honor of Januarius — Gennaro in Neapolitan Italian — the patron saint of their hometown. Individuals who came to pray to the saint were asked to pin an offering to the ribbon streamers hanging from the statue’s apron. The money gathered from the festivity was then distributed to the poor living in the neighborhood.

Since then, the festival has expanded into an 11-day street fair, featuring food vendors, carnival games, live music, and other attractions. Some of the most popular dishes served at the festival include sausage and peppers and zeppoles. Visitors can watch or take part in a cannoli-eating contest outside the famous Ferrara Bakery & Cafe — one of the oldest bakeries in New York City. On the last Sunday of the feast, after a celebratory mass at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, a Grand Procession takes place — during which a statue of San Gennaro is carried from the church through the streets of Little Italy.