Little Italy Nolita
Little Italy is located in Lower Manhattan made famous for its large population of Italian immigrants. In fact, the scene in Godfather 2 of young Vito’s Little Italy neighborhood of 1917 were actually shot there.
Although a fair number of Italian-Americans remain, much of the area has been repopulated in recent years due to expanding SoHo and Chinatown.
Nolita or North of Little Italy. The northern reaches of Little Italy, near Houston Street, have ceased to be recognizably Italian, and have been transformed into the fashion boutique-laden neighborhood.
Today the only section of Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Street, lined with Italian Restaurants popular with tourists, remains distinctly recognizable as Little Italy. This is a huge fun to enjoy a meal. Walking beside the narrow, cobblestone streets beneath the fire escape of turn-of-the-last-century tenements, it is fun to be enveloped by the sights, sounds and smells of Italian cuisine and culture emanating from the restaurants, bakery shops and stores.
Mulberry Street ‘s many Italian restaurants and Grand Street’s Italian food stores and fresh dairy products still draw crowds of tourists and locals alike. Family friendly Pellegrino’s prides itself as one of Little Italy’s finer restaurants offering both Northern and Southern Italian Cuisine. Cas Bella boasts its pasta and baking are all done in house, and serves reasonably priced pre-fixed dinners for parties of 15 or more. But for a real taste of Italian-American history the mandatory stop is Lombardi’s, established as the first pizzeria in America in 1905 with New York’s issuance of the mercantile license.
Shopping on Grand Street can be a whole lot of fun as well. For fresh mozzarella head to Di Palo Fine Foods or Alleva Dairy, and find imported delicacies at the Italian Food Center. Have an espresso, cappuccino, and a wide variety of pastries after a fine meal at one of the Italian Caffe’s. There are also numerous festivals throughout the year, with the Feast of San Gennaro (the best-known) taking place annually in late September.
Little Italy is favored for its proximity to nine subway lines, low food prices and rich culture.