NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There’s was last-minute shopping rush on in the Bronx on Monday.
But not for gifts.
It was for food.
As the days count down to Christmas, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes visited Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the borough.
Monday is the busiest day of the year in the Bronx’s Little Italy.
“I now live in Montclair, N.J., so I had to come all the way back to the Bronx to get the mozzarella,” Carol Artale said.
Jolly customers traveled from near and far and snatched up their must-have ingredients from “the old neighborhood” for their Christmas feasts.
“To get the best noodles in town, plain and simple. I’m making lasagna for Christmas and I gotta come here to get some lasagna noodles,” said Steven Lombardozzi of Mamaroneck, N.Y.
“Four hundred dollars later. At least. But it was well worth it, well worth the drive from New Jersey, getting up at 5 a.m. to come up here,” said Chris Engel of Chatham, N.J.
At Casa Della Mozzarella, just off Arthur Avenue, customers waited on line for several hours, while inside the tiny back room of the store owner Orazio Carciotto, his son, Carlo, and a few workers churned out tons of cheese.
“Thousands and thousands, there’s not even a number. Maybe over 10,000, I would say,” Carlo Carciotto said.
Of course, Grymes had to try their best seller, their small mozzarella balls called bocconcini.
And she quickly found out why there’s a six-hour line. The wait was totally worth it as the cheese was absolutely delicious.
People also waited on line for hours at several other spots, including Teitel Brothers wholesale grocery and Borgatti’s Ravioli and Egg Noodles.
Fish is also a big seller.
“This is our Super Bowl. Very busy today. Everyone is coming down to get their meats, cheeses, everything for their feasts,” said Justin Jackette of Cosenza’s Fish Market.
And the business owners appreciate seeing their customers day after day and year after year.
“The people are different. They come, they all have a smile on their face,” said Jerome Raguso of Gino’s Pastry Shop.
“It’s a tradition, but it’s getting crazier and crazier every year,” one customer said.