a common plea in this new New York age
The San Gennaro feast, along with summer, has again come to an end. Gawker takes a look at where the carnies will go next and I wonder if the feast will return next year, as the neighborhood changes and the complaints from the locals mount.
This past spring, Community Board 2 voted not to provide the feast with a permit, claiming that nobody in the neighborhood likes the feast anymore. It's hard to tell who "nobody" is. Is it the Italians who've lived there for generations or the newcomers? Some opine for the days when the mob ran the feast like a well-oiled machine. Others just hate the inconvenience and messiness of this traditional cultural festival.
Walking down Mulberry today is to see little trace of Little Italy. It's more like Little Hamptons. I moved through the crowded feast along the sidewalk, walking between two very different worlds: the backs of the carnival tents and fried dough carts and the plate-glass windows of high-end boutiques.
a boutique shopper with her back to the feast
"The people who objected to the feast, they knew about it before they moved in," said local pastor Fabian Grifone in the Villager. "It’s been going on for 80 years. If they didn’t like it, they shouldn’t have moved here."
As our neighborhoods change, so do our community boards. This happened in the Meatpacking District. When people with money began moving in, they pushed out the transgender prostitutes and queer clubs. Now some of them regret that move. Having upset the equilibrium of the neighborhood, they cleared a broad path for the hordes of drunk, conspicuous consumers to swarm right in.
Something similar is happening to Little Italy.
You can read the relevant minutes of the community board meeting here and here.