A guide to Little Italy’s 97th annual Feast of San Gennaro

September 14, 2023

Photo by Tom Marvel on Flickr

One of New York City’s most popular street fairs returns to Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood this week. The 11-day Feast of San Gennaro began in 1926 as a way for immigrants in New York to maintain the Italian tradition of honoring the patron saint of Naples, Saint Januarius, with a feast every September. While Little Italy has evolved over the last century, shrinking in size from 30 blocks to about nine, the Feast of San Gennaro remains one of the city’s best events of the year. Ahead, get a taste of all things Italian with our guide to one of the city’s largest street fairs, which takes place September 14 through September 24.

Photo by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr

Starting in the late 19th century, immigrants settled in Lower Manhattan, with communities from various Italian villages putting roots down on different city blocks. According to Walks of New York, Italian Americans made up 17 percent of the city’s population by 1930.

Following World War II, Little Italy residents left the crowded quarters of Manhattan for more spacious digs in Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Staten Island. The neighborhood later became home to a large population of Chinese immigrants after a 1965 federal policy made it easier to migrate to the United States.

As the size of Manhattan’s Little Italy shrunk, with roughly 1,000 residents of Italian ancestry recorded in 2000, a nonprofit was formed to keep the traditions of the old neighborhood alive. Thanks to the Figli di San Gennaro, Inc., which has organized the event since 1996, the Feast of San Gennaro has preserved a significant part of the Italian experience in New York City.

In the beginning, celebrations like the Feast of San Gennaro provided a sense of place and pride for many Italian immigrants in the U.S. What began as a one-day religious event in 1926 has grown into an 11-day festival of food, carnival games, music, and more, attracting both tourists and New Yorkers alike.

Photo courtesy of Feast of San Gennaro

Mass & processions:
The 97th annual event will honor Italian Americans in professional baseball. The Feast begins on September 14 with the Blessing of the Stands at 6 p.m., with Msgr. David Cassato blessing each stall of vendors along Mulberry Street.

The grand procession kicks off on September 16 at 2 p.m. with live music from Ricky Tinelli. The 2023 grand marshal is actress Kathrine Narducci, an East Harlem native known for playing Charmaine Bucco on “The Sopranos.”

On September 19, the solemn high mass honoring the patron Saint of Naples takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be held at the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood at 113 Baxter Street. After mass, there will be a religious procession with the statue of San Gennaro.


  • Johnny Mandolin & Friends take the stage on Sept. 13 at 5 p.m., followed by JC and The Fun Time Band at 7 p.m.
  • Singer Mike Sergio is scheduled for September 15 at 7 p.m.
  • On September 18, enjoy a show from the Enrico Caruso Opera
  • Jessa Quartet takes the state on September 20 at 5 p.m., followed by Theresa Sario at 7 p.m.
  • Starting at 4 p.m. on September 21, enjoy music from Francesca CavalieriLouis & JoAnn with the Uptown Band perform at 7 p.m.
  • On September 22 at 7 p.m., Teo “Romantic Tenor” Ricciardella will perform
  • Vanessa Racci aka “the Jazzy Italian” returns with her trio on September 23 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Closing out the festival on September 24 is John De Lauro at 12 p.m., One Funny Lisa-Marie and Dance Studio at 5 p.m., and Jenna Esposito at 6 p.m.

Photo by Jazz Guy on Flickr

Can’t-miss food vendors, restaurants, & shops of Little Italy:


Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on September 11, 2019, and has since been updated.

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