NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy will not be downsized in September.
The Community Board and high-end boutique owners wanted the festival scaled back by three blocks because of noise, crowds and smells.
The tradition that started more than 85 years ago has drawn so much negative attention that members of the Community Board 2 were trying to cut down the festival. Instead of running seven blocks along Mulberry Street to Houston, it would stop three blocks short at Kenmare.
Some local shops and boutiques claim the 11-day event dramatically lowers their profits because the festival runs from 11 a.m. until 12:30 at night.
“It killed our business pretty much for two weeks out of the summer, which should be our busiest time,” Emily Snell, of the Paul Frank Store, said. “It’s unfortunate for business owners around this area.”
“Trash, noise, breaking the rules. So many people. Just complete chaos. I don’t even want to be here,” resident Courtney Hewitt said.
The San Gennaro faithful wanted the tradition to stay. “For shop owners in what they call NoLita to say they can’t make money with a million people walking the streets, either their business concept is totally off or something’s wrong with what they’re selling,” said John Fratta, Figli Di San Gennaro Board Member.
“This is a neighborhood and a city event that must continue,” said resident Bob Marshall. “If they cut it three blocks this year, what are they going to want next year? It’s sort of a ‘starve the beast’ if they can get it out and what they’re trying to do is to change the culture of the neighborhood.”
“It’s an 85-year-old tradition. When these people rented their stores, rented their apartments, it was here. It wasn’t a secret come September the streets were going to turn into a carnival,” Figli Di San Gennaro board member Ernest Magliato said.
The city granted the festival, which runs from September 15 through the 25th, a permit to run its full length from Canal to Houston streets. However, it will begin 30 minutes later every day, and end 30 minutes earlier on Fridays and Saturdays.