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Produced by a bunch of smart, opinionated, dishy, nosy, funny New Yorkers
who love to run around Lower Manhattan eating, going to movies and plays, listening to music, taking pictures, and sharing all the dish

Put on Your Tourist Shoes for San Gennaro

by Pat Arnow

New Yorkers could learn something from the tourists at the San Gennaro Festival on this uncrowded, drizzly Tuesday afternoon. The few people eating in the temporary outdoor cafes looked like they were having a fine time, but no one I talked to was from New York.

A man from Korea happily picked apart a lobster (he's the fellow giving the victory sign in the picture). A woman from California said she was having the best clams she'd ever eaten as she stood at a cart (she and her companion are pictured). A group of Brazilian women and a Russian couple looked relaxed as they ate pasta and drank beer. A Chinese girl rode the little merry-go-round. But even the tourists stayed away from the usual carnival arcade games and street fair food.

Where were the New Yorkers? Not even at diPalo's grocery at Grand and Mott, where there's usually a line out the door for the sopressata hot or sweet, Parmesan cut from giant wheels, and sublime homemade mozzarella and ravioli. (Lou diPalo is pictured in front of the store.)

Lou diPalo said there were two reasons for the lull. First, it's always slow during the San Gennaro festival, and secondly, with all the world leaders here for the U.N. meeting snarling up traffic, people were advised to stay out of Manhattan today. The DiPalo family doesn't mind waiting until next week, when San Gennaro is over, for business to pick up. The store has been around for nearly a hundred years, and the festival has been here for 79 years. "It's a tradition," says Lou.

So take a tip from the cheery tourists. It's a short walk to Grand and Mulberry Street from the Lower East Side. Go on, have some clams or cannolli, and pop your kid on the merry-go-round or Ferris wheel. Stop in dePalo's for a short line to fabulous food to take home. The festival continues through Sunday.

For more information: sangennaro.org


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