San Genarro Feast 2015: Fun, Festivities & Fried Oreos

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Between now and Sunday, September 20, one of me favorite New York City fall traditions is turning Little Italy (and Nolita) into a vast spectacle of fried food, questionable clams, suckers' games, blinking lights, blasting music, cheap thrills, huge pastries, plenty of beer, tremendous people watching. Yup, it's the gloriously unsubtle, mostly unchanging Feast of San Gennaro, back for its 89th year stretching from Houston to Canal on Mulberry Street as well as spilling over onto several ancillary avenues in between. Go on a weekday and leisurely snack and stroll your way through modest crowds. Go at night or the weekend and… well, it gets insanely packed with people, which can be is fun, but just make sure you're in the right mood.       

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San Generrao Feast 2015

I went to the Feast of San Gennaro 2015 opening day last Thursday, which means that several booths and vendors were still just getting set up. It was also kind of a rainy afternoon, which perhaps discouraged locals from making a special trip, figuring they'd wait until the weather turned nice again. But even so, there were plenty of tourists and kids on their way home from school who were more than happy to check out all of the usual delights of San Gennaro: the fried dough; the Pina Coladas (rumor has it that if ask in the right way, you can get a rogue "spiking" of your crazy-cupped beverage); the cannolis in every conceivable flavor; the ridiculous games that you know you'll never win–and, even if you could, who would want such a massive stuffed animal (or Rasta banana, or whatever) in their home?–but sometimes play anyway just for a goof; the fried sausages and braciole; the various trinket booths overflowing with things you don't need.

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What To Eat At The San Gernarro Fest 

As has been the case in recent years, there are some new faces at the Feast as well, mostly serving food that's slightly more, shall we say, on-trend than your usual fried-everything booths, and usually clustered up in the northern, more Nolita part of Mulberry. The great Rubirosa, for example, while no longer a San Gennaro newbie, does have a special Feast menu that includes an amazing-sounding Polenta Fried Sausage and an Italian Ice Cream Sandwich, with almond cookies surrounding bourbon ice cream. A vendor named Glazed and Confused follows the popular Doughnuttery model of frying up mini-donuts on the spot and flavoring them with all kinds of toppings and syrups, like the Funfetti (vanilla glaze, rainbow sprinkles), the Hangover (maple syrup, bacon), and the Peanut Butter Cup, which is exactly what it sounds like. Sam's Fried Ice Cream is making it's first appearance at the Feast, and I can tell you from past experience that this is a delicious and fun thing to eat, the cold, creamy treat encased within its hot, crunchy shell.  

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How To Find Out More About The San Genarro Feast 

The San Gennaro Feast runs through September 20, Mulberry Street from Houston to Canal. The Feast is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m, and until 12:00 midnight on Friday and Saturday. 

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