NYC: Little Italy

I hesitated to even title this “NYC” because the moment I stepped into the Little Italy neighborhood, I felt like I’d been dropped into a different world.  My stress level dropped to next to nothing and I smiled for real for the first time since arriving in the city.

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I know a lot of people discredit Little Italy as a tourist trap – far removed from the immigrant community it once was.  And the tourism junk was there. The vendors selling anything red, white and green; the stacks of cheap purses and just general souvenir thingamabobs.  But you know what? Absolutely no one was pushing and shoving.  There was no yelling or screaming.  Crowds of people were politely walking up and down the streets, more often than not, holding hands and smiling to themselves.  With all the amazing sounding restaurants, it seemed it would be impossible to choose just one but then fate intervened:

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First, a Writer’s Union group and now a restaurant called novella.  There really was no other place we could choose.  And it was fabulous.  I enjoyed an amazing bowl of spaghetti carbonara while sitting at a table streetwise and watching the crowds go by.  It was a fabulously dreamy way to spend an afternoon.  The area was setting up for the San Gennaro festival and decked out for the occasion.  It was nice to see the area before the craziness of the festival but yet seeing what it would look like in a mere few days was fun as well.

 

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Patriotism was in full force in Little Italy as well and it was nice to see the mixing of both Italian and American heritages on proud display.

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No stop to Little Italy would be complete without finding some insanely good desserts and Ferrara’s was one of the few spots on my “must see” list.  It didn’t disappoint.  I came away with a box of treats to enjoy later at the hotel and then stopped at the street vendor for a Blackberry gelato.  Divine.

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I hated to leave.  Honestly, the idea of returning to the Times Square area just filled me with absolute dread.  But, Little Italy had a fabulous parting gift which made me smile and guaranteed my return:

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Seriously, how can you not love a place where a man strolls around with a cat on his head?  Loved, loved this place and would end up making it my final spot to return to before leaving the city.

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