Tuesday, September 18, 2012

San Gennaro 2012

The Nolita foodies may be encroaching from the north, but the feast still reigns on Mulberry Street.

This year, the Grand Procession was led by Italian-American sweetheart Connie Francis. The lady once known as Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero rode in the back of a red Cadillac with a beauty queen. She later signed autographs on the Main Stage, greeting a long line of fans with warmth and patience.

I was a big Connie Francis fan as a kid.

Gennaro Class War
Nolita vs. the Feast


Anonymous said...

Like most everybody else in the neighborhood I for decades, to quote di Niro in Mean Streets, have hated the feast with a passion. That said, it's part of the neighborhood I really resent the way the newcomers have tried to push it out.

Pat said...

I too was a fan of Connie Francis when I was a kid, and sang "Lipstick on Your Collar" (badly.) Can you imagine a singer today in a demure little dress like she is wearing? In those days, you did not have to be hot, you just had to have talent.

BabyDave said...

Anon. 11:07 -- Only in later years did I begin to side with Johnny Boy. As a little kid I was enthralled by the whole thing. When it started to slide into something approaching a generic street fair, it lost much of its appeal. But I totally agree that it's downright offensive how some fairly recent arrivals have tried to evict a neighborhood staple.

laura said...

the fair is too long. it should stay but be less days. originally this was a 4 day holiday, in italy & little italy. it is now become a filthy loud tourist event. i can see it from a thursday to wendsay. thats 7 days. i wouldnt want that in my face if lived there. im sure the old italians would agree, if there are any of them left.

Ed said...

As usual Laura makes sense. I think I share the sensibilities of this blog, but really you can destroy "old New York" by just banning it or buying it and tearing it down, or you can buy it and remove pretty much everything that made it cool. And guess what happened to the Feast. But to add insult to injury, when this was less of a tourist trap it was less obtrusive and shorter in duration.

laura said...

ed: cutting it down would bring more peace to the area. less days of filth & noise. dont forget the clean up time involved, all that garbage. you may not like the new comers in the area, but i bet the old timers would agree as well on that point. when you do a smart compromise, you are assured that you wont throw out the baby w/the bath water. personally i would like to see the fair from wensday pm to sunday pm, 4 days, i said 7days originally to be diplomatic. also the cheesiness of this fair is a reflection of the times. less tradition, more commericialism. no one needs a street fair for what? 10 days?? let them do it on the jersey shore. (check out carol gardens "our lady of the sorrows" procession. that has stayed the same for 100 yrs).

laura said...

the cheesy version on jersey shore, 2 weeks. the better version in little italy, 4-7 days more italian tradition. less blocks.

Ed said...

I've suggested half seriously on various comment boards that the fair should relocate to Staten Island, it would be closer to where the Italian-American community in New York now lives and more accessible to New Jersey as well.

I like the idea of doing that and having a shorter, purely traditional (basically the Feast as it was decades ago) in what used to be Little Italy. I know last year there was an attempt to infiltrate a few more upscale booths (which was an OK idea, street fairs should be more reflective of their neighborhoods and feature actual local businesses), but a "restoration" of the original procession and fair would work much better.

Little Italian said...

It is a grave error to assume that it is the newcomers who want this feast shut down.
Little Italy residents and old-time businesses also dislike the crap it brings.

Few of the feast's promoters and proponents live in the area. They, in fact, are the outsiders now, venturing in from their Mitchell-Lama apartment buildings near Wall Street.

It is still unclear where the money goes.

Btw, I am not a newcomer. Loved downtown for 45 years, and Johnny Boy speaks for most of us.

laura said...

"ed" & "little italy" both are correct, as we are saying the same things. a short traditional feast on mulberry. the big one in jersey or staten island. they could hire tourist busses, take all the crowds. (another business in the making). dont keep blaming the new comers & boutique owners. i doute the few italian stores (or condo owners or tenents) want this mess for 2 weeks either.

Little Earthquake said...

What's wrong with the filth and noise of San Gennaro??

I gotta say, my wife and I stopped by on Saturday and loved it. Yeah it was packed and loaded with tourists. So what? Actually, WE felt like tourists. We brought our cameras and overpaid for lousy cannoli and pizza. Later we walked to Chinatown and enjoyed Columbus Park.

Yes it is cheesy and a relic from another time. Fewer than 5% of Little Italy residents are Italian. But I think we need more, not less, of these celebrations. Make 'em loud and greasy. Bring on the Ohioans. One of the drawbacks of our society becoming more secular is the dearth of community-based festivals, their repetition and timelessness. I'm an atheist but I hate to see things like this disappear. Just my opinion.

laura said...

jeremiah: please keep us informed of how this developes, & any changes for the feast.