The Real Little Italy
Although it is true Manhattan’s Little Italy was in fact a large Italian neighborhood, many tourists and some NY locals are unaware of the fact that the Belmont area of the Bronx is a historic neighborhood, which had a great influx of Italian immigrants in the late 19th century. Belmont, a predominantly Italian neighborhood located a little west of the Bronx Zoo, still consists of local shops, restaurants and delis that all represent this area’s rich historical past.
Famous shops to look out for if you happen to visit the Bronx Zoo are Teitel Brothers and Arthur Avenue Market, which both have a large selection of Italian goods. An important holiday that takes place in this neighborhood, which still occurs in Italy, is a holiday called Ferragosto. Ferragosto is an annual holiday that takes place around August 15th, in which all the local shops in the area close down and a large festival in the neighborhood takes the streets, celebrating Italian music, culture, and most importantly, food.
To experience some of the hidden, vibrant examples of street art in boroughs such as Queens and Brooklyn, be sure to visit neighborhoods such as Bushwick and Astoria to appreciate local artist’s work. The Welling Court Mural Project, which started in 2009, was a way for both local and global artists to decorate the neighborhood in the artistic style that they envisioned. Along with celebrating different cultures, the street art in the Astoria neighborhood highlights the best of jazz music, native cultures, and individual expression that point to a certain level of emotional freedom.
The influence of cultural identity is also a primary creative source for artists in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Themes such as the interesting dynamic of nature and other radiant murals beautifully decorate the brick walls within these neighborhoods.
The first place you should definitely visit while you’re on your Brooklyn tour is “Luke’s Lobster,” which is located at 11 Water Street. This spot has some of the best lobster rolls in the city, with the seafood coming from a small town in Maine. For dessert, definitely head to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory right below the Brooklyn Bridge. This local ice cream shop has flavors ranging from butter pecan to chocolate. If you would like to try some of Brooklyn’s finest pizza, be sure to stop at Grimaldi’s to grab a slice at 1 Front Street, (which is also close to the Brooklyn Bridge).