A few weeks ago, when I was walking down Mulberry Street after classes in Baruch, trying to find those to interview, I really did not think much of the neighborhood. Yet what little remnants of Little Italy remained did seem quite vibrant. The restaurants and bars did stand out, but altogether, Mulberry Street was the product of a bygone era. Perhaps this too is what the few Italians still living in the neighborhood felt. All around, and even on Mulberry itself, were Chinese restaurants and non-denominational clothing shops.
But just once a year, for a brief 11 days, Mulberry explodes with a burst of Italy. People (many tourists included) flock over and celebrate. Shops open up selling sausage and other tasty Italian delicacies while Restaurants take in heaps of cash. Yet the lure of the festival is fading. Now as food becomes less and less Italian and the complaints louder and louder, the question is raised: just for how much longer is San Gennaro going to last?
But to know more about the festival and it’s current problems, let us first examine the festival’s history.