More than lobster bakes or late-August breezes or white jeans stained with grass, Little Italy’s Feast of San Gennaro has come to romanticize the end of summer for me. It takes place every year from mid to late September, when the weather in New York is not yet immune an occasional high 80s spike, but the light is starting to change, casting pale shards of sunlight on spaghetti glinting with olive oil, clams packed together in huge buckets of ice, tiny magnets shaped like every fruit imaginable and a huge silver knife slicing off enormous chunks of Torrone, the classic Italian nougat.
Created 91 years ago by Italian immigrants who made their home in the area, the feast pays homage to San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. The rows of booths run down Mulberry Street to Canal and Houston streets, up and down Grand and Hester and between Mott and Baxter. Every inch of space is jammed with people carrying paper plates of white cake and playing old-fashioned fair games, the air thick with the smell of fried dough.
Man Repeller’s office is located around the corner from the festival, so we sent photographer Maggie Shannon to capture some of the sights and scents and flavors with her camera flash. Click through the slideshow above, and let me know if and when you want to split a fried Oreo.