7. Mulberry Street (The Godfather Part II)

The Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, which was featured in New York movies like the Godfather Part II

One of the quintessential scenes in the Godfather movies takes place on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, where a young Vito Corleone assassinates Don Fanucci, a “blackhander” extortionist—amidst the celebration and revelry of the Feast of San Gennaro.

Currently an 11-day street fair in mid-September, laden with drinks, food, and even a cannoli-eating contest, the Feast of San Gennaro started off as a one-day religious commemoration which initiated in 1926 when immigrants from Naples congregated along Mulberry Street to continue the Italian tradition of celebrating Saint Januarius, the Patron Saint of Naples. During the first years of the feast café owners would erect a small chapel in the street that would host the image of their patron Saint. Partakers in the feast were asked to pin a small offering to the Chapel—money that would be then distributed to the poor and needy. Currently, on the last Saturday of the event, a Roman Catholic candlelit Grand Procession is held and the statue of San Gennaro is carried through the streets of Little Italy, just like in The Godfather.

While no incidents akin to the Godfather scene have occurred during the feast, in 1994 Mayor Giuliani declared that if the San Gennaro festival did not remove corrupt elements, namely financial improprieties and mafia involvement, he would shut it down.