...or more like it, a slice of little southern Italy, as the first Italian settlers in this area were from Italy's southern regions.
The area beams with the smells, flavors and colors of Italy with lots of restaurants and boutiques. Interestingly, it is next to Chinatown, with which it competes for scarce real estate space - no surprises on who's winning! This means you could have delicious dimsum as your antipasti and move next door for the main course and dessert!
During our visits to Little Italy in NYC over the past 35 years, we have noticed that it seems to be shrinking at the growth of Chinatown. This most recent visit proved to be no exception as some of our favourite spots have vanished or moved our of the area. Fortunately Mulberry St still offers some fine cannolis and hand rolled cigars, which can be enjoyed at any number of wonderful patio eateries that were still going strong on New Years eve.
Took a yummy tour of Chinatown and Little Italy. Learned about the history of both neighborhoods, was provided with lots of dining recommendations and along the tour we stopped at various locations to sample some tasty foods. In Little Italy we tried cannolis (and I don't like cannolis but this one was out of this world) and we also tasted some fresh homemade mozzarella with prosciutto... wow! The guide was knowledgeable and personable.
One of the best places to eat in little Italy is a small cigar bar called "Florio's". It is located at 192 Grand Street, NY NY. Little Italy. There website is www.florios.com Its a great place, is it also the only smoker friendly restuarant left in NY City, or at least the only one that publicly say its smoker friendly. Smoker or not though, the food at this joint is amazing and will give you a great taste of this historic neighborhood.
Little Italy is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, New York City, once known for its large population of Italians. Chinatown, has encroached on much of Little Italy and Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets, is all that is left of the old Italian neighborhood. The street is lined with some two-dozen Italian restaurants popular with tourists, and seemingly very few locals.
The Feast of San Gennaro is a large street fair, lasting 11 days, in September along Mulberry Street. We find that it just gets too crowded, loud & the food isn't as good.
Il Palazzo at 151 Mulberry Street , is our favorite Italian Restaurant. We enjoy sitting at a table on the sidewalk on a nice day or inside the garden room. The service is impeccable, food consistently good and prices reasonable.
In the fall of 2008, the New York Times ran a lengthy account of the creation of the Italian American Museum at 155 Mulberry Street, the southwest corner of the intersection of Mulberry and Grand Streets, in Little Italy. I'm a New Yorker, but I finally got to visit it only last week. Although other posts declare that "Little Italy" is shrinking, the directors of this interesting museum plan to enlarge it. At present, the exhibit is limited to a corner former bank, the Stabile Bank, Francesco Stabile being the founder in 1885. When I visited, the suggested donation was $5. I spent an interesting 35 minutes viewing one video (10 minutes) and looking at the displays on several topics: currency, passports, bank papers, personal letters (one threatening harm), photos. In sum, it is a good exhibit, but limited. The staff was most knowledgeable, unlike many museums where the staff are mere guards. Phone 212-965-9000, but you may get only a recording. The museum is CLOSED Mondays and Tuesdays.
If you feel like Italian, you can't go wrong going to Mulberry St. in Little Italy.
You can go to this website site to see a complete panoramic view of all the stores in Little Italy:
It was a great experience for me to visit Little Italy, being Italian and all! We had some great food at La Nonna and I even snapped my picture with the conceirge! Little Italy has some great quirks about it. (Note: the fire hydrants and parking meters are painted with the Italian flag!) So cute!!
I had always thought of Little Italy as being a real area in New York, a neighbourhood with a unique Italian background and style... Well, it's not more than two streets (Mulberry and Grand Street) and these consist basically only of restaurants and now and then an Italian grocery store. Apparently, the restaurants are quite good and rather inexpensive - most guidebooks mention them somehow as a good place to get Italian food. I didn't try them, but I certainly will next time in New York.
I'd heard from many people that Little Italy more or less was a tourist trap and that it was not worth the detour, but I was still curious to see it. I guess most people are disappointed to see how small Little Italy has become - most of the Italian families of old have now moved to different residential areas throughout the city, and what is now refered to as "Little Italy" is a small commercial strip punctuated by restaurants and souvenir shops. But still, having no expectations whatsoever, I did enjoy my short visit to "Lita" - I thought all the sidewalk terraces were quite charming, and we ended up going for an early dinner in one of the many restaurants located on Mulberry Street. It wasn't necessarily the best Italian meal I've ever had, but it was still quite good, not expensive at all, and the atmosphere of the place turned this into a really pleasant experience!
Little Italy still has some charm and you will see wee old Italian American men with great mustaches walking around shopping and chatting while others try to get you into their diner for a pasta lunch or dinner but the entire area only consists of half of dozens streets/blocks and is being swallowed up by Chinatown. The heart of little Italy is Mulberry st near the park and the street reminded me of the gangster in Donnie Brasco (Lefty from Mulberry St) when he said ''I am known my friend, ask anybody about Lefty from Mulberry St'' so being a fan of gangster history, I had to make the journey to see the street. The area has a cool vibe and the fire hydrants are painted the colors of Italian flag after the World Cup victory. You can get anything from pasta dishes to cheap t shirts that say ''Are you talkin to me?'' and the whole place is good fun :)
We didn't stay long, just walked through. But this had a great atmosphere; street blocked off to traffic, great crowds, fun restaurants with indoor/outdoor seating and lots of cool souvenir shops. Go early if you don't want to wait too long for a seat at one of the restaurants - it gets packed later in the evening!
Not as big as Chinatown and not as impressive either, but still a nice area to visit. Check out all the big mafia style cars that are in front of some of the restaurants. Fantastic! Also there are a lot of shops selling cheap t-shirts like a Hello Titty t-shirt. I had a great laugh over this and decided to buy it. I couldn't resist. Furthermore there's a couple nice restaurants and bars.
Just after the Chinese area, your enter in Little Italy. In fact, the main thing there is Italian Restaurant. In all the streets of Little Italy, 80% of the ground floors are Italian Restaurants.
Well, for Americans, an Italian restaurant is a romantic name for pizza and spaghetti fast food.
All the restaurants have a name to remind a place in Italy, but they serve the same food. I cannot say that I tasted food in all the restaurants, but I could read the menus in front of all the doors. Well, all the same.
Visit shops and restaurants.
Always try to impress you host in the restaurant that you speak a little Italian, i.e. learn right pronounciation of words like manicotti, pizza, or even when we are at it venti and sphagetti. : )