Sign up for our PoliticsNY newsletter for the latest coverage and to stay informed about the 2021 election in your district and across New York
Mulberry Street in Little Italy was packed on Saturday as thousands flocked to the third day of the feast of San Gennaro – the patron saint of Naples.
Watching the crowds, most of them unmasked, the jubilant consent of visitors and vendors was that “New York is back,” as the iconic party – which spans 11 blocks of the Little Italy neighborhood and s’ rapidly approaching its 100th birthday – returned on Sept. 16 after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
John Fratta, vice president of Figli di San Gennaro, said he feels fantastic that San Gennaro is back and that the tradition continues. His great-grandfather was the first president of the festival, which began in 1926.
âLast year was a disappointment for all of us,â Fratta said, referring to last year’s party being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged people to be “smart” and wear a mask when visiting the party this year.
âWe had a lot of people going out the first night,â Fratta explained. âThere were a lot more people than ever before. I think people just want to go out.
For Kathy and Randall Slane from Park Slope, Brooklyn, it was the second time they had attended the party. The couple had left California in late 2019 and eagerly awaited whatever New York City has to offer, but COVID-19 then halted their plans to explore the city last year.
âOh man, it’s great to be here and to have everyone together. It’s New York as far as I’m concerned, âsaid Randall.
âEspecially after COVID. It’s nice to see everyone come out, âadded Kathy. “So for us, in particular, it’s so nice to get the city back to normal.”
They weren’t too concerned with the Delta variant because both are vaccinated, and Kathy said she was an avid hand-washing enthusiast.
âI think if you are careful and careful you are safe,â said Kathy. âNew York has such a high vaccination rate and such a low positivity rate right now, I think we both feel pretty safe. “
Luke McDonough, who attended the party with his friends Lexy Leeds and Robbie Rice, claimed his Italian roots because his mother is Italian.
All of them are former Fordham students, and they used to go to the San Gennaro festival in the Bronx. But now they live on Mulberry Street, and McDonough joked that ten days might be a bit long because when he has to go to work, “there are all these parties.”
âIt’s a big festival celebrating my legacy, and I’m very happy to be here,â McDonough said. “I love it. I love cigar smoke, all guys. It’s funny.”
âIt’s nice to see New York City come back to the streets,â added Lexy Leeds.
Ilana Buczyner immigrated from Italy at the age of six. She said she liked Italians. His parents are Holocaust survivors and the Italian people saved his life.
She was still worried about COVID-19, mainly because of the crowds on Mulberry Street, but said, âI love the variety of people in New York who come out. Stop the Corona.
Vinny scuzzese owns a basket throwing stand, which he brought to New York from the Jersey Shore. He admitted that last year he was depressed because he didn’t know if he would come back, but he felt good about attending this year.
âI thought it was going to be a little quirky, sweet,â Vinny said. âBut Thursday, Friday and today is very good. So far people are coming out. So I’m happy with it. “
The party runs until September 26.