NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Could the “Feast of all Feasts” be toned down this fall? There were calls Thursday to shorten the San Gennaro Feast, held every September in Little Italy.

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.

The festival runs from Sept. 15 through Sept. 25.

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.

SEE: Photo Gallery – San Gennaro Festival 2010

“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.”

Should the San Gennaro festival be shortened? Sound off in our comments section.

“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 want 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 mayor’s office has the final decision on whether the Feast runs its usual seven blocks.

“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,” Marshall said.
Comments (68)
  1. IMUS KNOWS says:

    I say Ask Don Imus about what they would have done to him for this remark
    or you can always go to
    who defends the Italian people to the last man standing

  2. Bucky says:

    For all his success, Mr. Lee is not without his critics – opponents who say Singapore is too tightly controlled, that it leashes the press, tramples on dissidents and stunts entrepreneurship and creativity in its citizens.

    Most Singaporeans, however, accept restrictions on civil liberties and free speech as the price of their material well-being. On his part, Mr. Lee defends the government’s campaigns – do not chew gum; do not spit; do not throw garbage from rooftops; speak good English; smile; mate and multiply – as part of plan to create first-world citizens within its first-world infrastructure.

    Without Lee Kwan Singapore would be 100 years behind the times
    Ask Little Italy about the garbage

  3. Charlie Chan says:

    Pure racism by the people who spit and blow their noses in the streets

  4. Deadicated says:

    Leave the Feast Alone!

  5. Ziggy says:

    I grew up in Bensonhurst when it was a very strong Italian neighborhood and have been going to the St. Gennaro Fair since I was a boy.

  6. Ziggy says:

    Don’t forget that the Italians first got pasta from the Chinese.

  7. sparky1130 says:

    The shop owners and residents who are complaining about the feast remind me of people who buy homes near the airport then complain about the noise. It’s only for a short time every year so stop your bellyaching!!!

  8. Simon says:

    The feast was so much better when the Mob ran it. “Drown The Clown” just doesn’t mean as much anynore.

  9. Stevie says:

    If people would just relax! Do the rite thing, and have a good time. Respect one another, throw your garbage in the cans, smile a little, say excuse me, hold open a door, dont push! I guess what i’m getting at is the things people forgot the most. The baisics!

  10. Little Mikey says:

    As a great traditional festival from Napoli it is a bit different in New York but having missed it for quite a while now I would love a chance to go again. Of course those sausage sandwiches may not be as good as mine at home but I still remember many enjoyable nights. I am sure there is room for discussion of length of street and length of hours and of course people that have problems with the crowds and trash should be heard. But please let’s not consider shrinking it up to just a reflection of it’s past glory. I think if it had a little more variety than the length of the festival could be more palatable. I think It is a tradition worth keeping even if I can agree that some of the more commercial aspects are not that enjoyable. Let’s keep it and make it better!

  11. Leslie says:

    While I haven’t been to the Festival in a number of years, I shoul be able to go this year. My mouth is already watering for scrumptuous zeppoles and divine cannoli. Yes, I can get them in my neighborhood, but they are so much better at the festival. I can understand the concerns over garbage so the festival organizers should arrange for more garbage pails and a cleaning crew.
    If you market your store and their goods properly, this should be a boon for you and not a serious problem..

  12. John Marin says:

    This is a Mediterrenean festival on North American soil and should be appreciated for its intrinsic and religious worth. The celebration is only a pinch of tim considering the 365 days in a year. Shopkeepers complaining are just that mental dwarfs with little appreciation or sensitivity.

  13. Val says:

    I meant “fairs”…
    …and why does every blog end up with people attacking each other and calling each other names? Grow up, all of you!

  14. Val says:

    I recall when you could get a dozen zeppole for a buck. What are they now? A buck each? I stopped coming because the prices got totally ridiculous. I love street fares and think it should continue, but really, get some more variety of food and make the prices more affordable. I agree with Mrs. Manicotti on this one.

    1. San Gennaro says:

      That’s exactly what we are trying to do, I agree that we need more variety. As far as the prices, we pay alot of money to the city to have our stands their. So if the prices go up for the venders, the prices must go up for the attendees.

      1. I enjoy good food says:

        I hope that can happen. I would happily pay for good AUTHENTIC food. I think others would as well.

  15. BigEZ says:

    Sad that you can call me a name first and because I defend myself I get reported!! Dispicible!!!

    1. San Gennaro says:

      Check the blog pathetic, you called names first!!!

  16. Anna says:

    This feast has been going on for 85yrs! Why stop it now, all of a sudden its a nuisance?

  17. Ahmed says:

    Ignore this schmuck bigez
    He’s not worth it
    What he doesn’t realise is he was the first to call you a name!

    1. San Gennaro says:

      thank you Ahmed

  18. Sal Manella says:

    This festival is like dental work without novocaine. Or, imagine if you would, listening to “Hey Mambo, Mambo Italiano” on infinite repeat. I am from Italy, but when this festival is going I get in my Zeppole and fly away.

  19. Miker says:

    Hey Liberal Marshmellows why don’t you just shut it down and throw a bike lane through it along with a sit down island. Instead of complaining about a tradition that has been going on longer than you have been alive, move back to Ohio or whatever no life and values of tradition you came from. This is New York, deal with it or SHUT UP.

  20. nyc says:

    Bring back the gambling ? The feast used to be better in the old days. My opinion.

  21. San Gennaro says:

    Cardboard gangster…you pathetic slob, I was not the one to say that anyone needed to be kicked, it was you!!!! All I did was answer you ignorant rant!!!! I think it’s you trying to be a gangster!!!

    1. BigEZ says:

      Yet another personal attack By the cardboard gangster!
      God damn grease ball!

    2. San Gennaro says:

      Name calling will get you no where, a pathetic slob like you has no other way of fighting back except calling names, I pitty people like you!!!! Cowards like you will never accomplish anything in life. YOU POOR SOUL.

    3. San Gennaro says:

      There you go calling names again, I must have hit a soft spot. I repeat no life, pathetic person that is a big coward. No man or woman would use name calling as a defence.. JUST A POOR SOUL!!!!!

  22. Scmellma Calzones says:

    Cut the damn thing short. After all, how the hell much sausage and peppers can you eat?! Lousy gavoons don’t respect nothin’.

    1. San Gennaro says:

      We can eat enough Sausage and peppers to allow this great feast last 10 whole long days and run from Canal Street to Houston Street, you gavoon!!!!

  23. jONHHY says:


  24. San Gennaro says:

    Pathetic you are!!

    1. BigEZ says:

      What’s a matter you hey!!
      Gotta no respect !!
      Why you look so sad!!
      It’s a nice a place !!
      Shut up a ya face!!

    2. San Gennaro says:

      I told you, you are pathetic!!!

    3. BigEZ says:

      You need a good kick in the cannoli’s

    4. San Gennaro says:

      Bring it you pathetic slob!!!

    5. BigEZ says:

      Listen to the cardboard gangster getting aggressive, you couldn’t fight your way out of a bowl of sloppy pasta and meatballs!

    6. jant says:

      I have reported this ahole AOL. Don’t anyone bother to address this moron.

      1. San Gennaro says:

        Thank you so much!!!

  25. Mr. Armenia says:

    Thia ias ethic discrimination towards the Italian people.

  26. Ugh says:

    I lived down there–thank god on Mott and not Mulberry. Contrary to popular belief, people just don’t “know” about this festival. You think real estate agents disclose that there will be a 10 day nightmare outside your home? Haha–they don’t! My heart goes out to anyone who has to put up with that festival.

    What “ethnic” (or otherwise) festival runs for 10 days and creates such havoc?

    1. SanGennaro says:

      Ugh, the bars and the noise on the streets the rest of the year dosen’t bother you? The consistent breaking into cars dosen’t bother you? It’s only the Feast of San Gennaro that bothers you? There is a solution to everything!!!! MOVE!!!

    2. Wasilla Gorila says:

      I totally agree with you. It’s selfish act when you don’t care about the effects on other people’s lives businesses

    3. JR says:

      Why would the real estate agent have to disclose anything? Oh yeah, god forbid the hoemowner take any kind of responsibility to find out all they can about the place they are about to dump a ton of money into to buy or rent!

    4. Mary says:

      Thank God that it does run 10 days, it keeps the people having fun and something to do. If you don’t like this stay home and watch TV. worry about yourself, and know one else. Ugh to you

  27. C.J. says:

    Maybe the feast should be held at Seaside Heights

  28. JMP says:

    For as long as I can remember (and that is a long time), the feast went from Canal to Kenmare. One year they tried to extend it south of Canal a block or two, but that was a disaster. Then about 10 years ago, it was extended to Spring St. It has only been going all the way to Houston for the last three or four years. Many of the people complaining are the ones who live between Spring and Houston, which was NEVER traditional feast area. The organizers of the feast just want to make more and more money, rent space to more and more carts, and don’t care how many streets they take. Soon it will be in the East Villiage.

    1. JMP says:

      I forgot to add, before all you people comment, YOU should do some research.

    2. San Gennaro says:

      JMP you obviously didn’t grow up in LIttle Italy, because your statistics are all wrong. You must be one of those people who live here 10-15 years and think you know everything. Well I am a 52 yr. resident and the feast originally went from what used to be Park Street, now known as Mosco St. to Houston St. because the Church…St Patrics was always involved. Now whom ever you are. please get your facts straight.

  29. Mr. Armenia says:

    Thia ia racial discrimination towards the Italian people.

    1. Vinnie Bragadoccio says:

      Italian isn’t a race, it’s an ethnicity.

      1. Mr. Armenia says:

        I mean ethnic sorry

  30. MARIA says:


  31. San Gennaro says:

    Joy, go back to Wisconsin where you came from, we don’t need you!!!!

  32. Lovebringer Ortiz says:

    Obviously they moved into those stores without doing any research. Otherwise, you would have known what you were getting yourself into. If you don’t care for the festival, or seem to be losing your profits, then there is always the option to move out and/or move on.

    Also, the Puerto Rican parade ” riots” were not actually done by Puerto Ricans. moral of the story? A little research goes a long way. You don’t like? The you don’t attend. Thanks.

  33. Joy says:

    Street after street its the same vendors selling the same type of food. Shorten the blocks AND shorten the time span. There is absolutely no reason for a 10 day festival!

  34. Micha says:

    Um, the Festival has been going on FOREVER! Were these people not aware of this when they moved into the neighborhood? Also, do these people complaining not realize that even if they cut the area, the same amount of people will come and the streets will be even more cluttered. I am tired of hearing some people in NYC complain about things like this, if you want to live a suburban life- move to the burbs!! As for the store oweners, they knew what it was when the moved there.. the feast doesn’t last forever- just DEAL WITH IT!

  35. Mrs. Manicotti says:

    Dear me! Where will I be able to get authentic eye-talian food?
    Really, it’s an 85 year old “tradition” of sh1t.

    1. Ignorance Beater says:

      Nice racist comment. What lousy food do “your” people have? There are few cultures that date as far back and have had such a significant impact on government, architecture, music, technology, and yes…amazing food that many people love. It helps to be informed before you attempt to bash an entire culture.

      1. Mrs. Manicotti says:

        I am Italian. My point is that the swill that is served at this festival is about as Italian as a bagel.

  36. Mike says:

    I agree with Mr. Miglito, This shouldn’t have been a suprise to the new renters or storekeepers, They didn’t sneak the festival in last week ! If you hate it so much, there is a solution, MOVE!!!!

  37. Ann says:

    If the feast is to remain the same time and length more should be done to keeping the area clean. I work in this area and if you saw what it looked like early morning you might consider not returning in the evening.

  38. Biill B says:

    At least there are no riots like the Puerto Rican day parade!

    1. Dan Te says:

      Don’t forget the gun shootings at the Jamaican/Haitian day parades….

  39. ProFromDover says:

    If this was a minority ethnic festival, no one would dare to derail it.

    1. Paesano says:

      You think we Italians are a “majority” somehow??

    2. Devenio says:

      ProFromDover: Please reserve your comments for the ignorant of you town.

Leave a Reply