Hello, hello, travellers! Here we are again, making war, with a new route walking in New York. Today we’re taking you with us to visit the Little Italy district of Manhattan, one of the most attractive for tourists. Ah! And come with your hunger, you’ll surely eat something. Then don’t say we didn’t warn you…
Index of Contents
Where is Little Italy located?
New York’s best known Little Italy is located in Manhattan and is surrounded by Broome, Lafayette and Canal streets and almost engulfed by the Chinatown neighborhood on its eastern side.
At the beginning of the 20th century, when the neighborhood was full of immigrants from Italy (especially from Naples and Sicily), you could hear the Italian accent almost anywhere in the neighborhood, but little is left of that time. The Italian neighbors left the neighborhood as Chinatown grew… So even though there are few of them, we can consider it lucky that there are still references to Italy in this area of Manhattan. And that’s because, apart from fire hydrants and posters, most of them materialize in restaurants.
Of course, the best known Little Italy in New York is in Manhattan, but the most authentic Little Italy is in the Bronx. The latter revolves around Arthur Avenue in the Belmont district. There you feel like you’ve been transported to Italy beyond the restaurants. We talk about the Little Italy of the Bronx in our New York guide and we will also do it in a post that we will publish later.
How to get to Little Italy from Manhattan?
Our favorite way to do it is to walk. This allows us to take advantage of the opportunity to visit nearby neighborhoods. For example, we can do the route through Soho or the route through Chinatown, Nolita or the Lower East Side.
If you want to go by subway, the closest stations are Spring St to the north or Canal St to the south of the neighborhood.
Map of the route
It’s not a very big neighborhood, but it never hurts to have a personalized map with all the details, so you don’t miss anything at all.
Walking route in Little Italy
To make good use of the time, the day we did the route walking through Nolita, we took advantage and continued visiting Manhattan to the south with this route walking through Little Italy. We started in the north of the neighborhood, more specifically in the building located at 240 Centre St, also known as The Police Building.
Don’t be fooled by the name, you won’t see police cars at the door anymore but eventually it was converted into apartments and there are even rumors that Leonardo Di Caprio bought one at the time.
This was the place chosen by the city of New York to establish the police headquarters back in 1910. Is it a coincidence that it is next to Little Italy and that at that time, the mafia was one of its protagonists? We don’t think so… The point is that building the headquarters here was a way of keeping the area a little more guarded and keeping the temptation of crime as far away as possible. Then the mafia issue calmed down, the barracks moved to Police Plaza No. 1 and ordinary people (with money) bought these apartments with a funny story behind them.
Little Italy is not well known for its graffiti, but be careful because it has some very cool graffiti, like the one below:
Already in flour, the next must on a route through Little Italy is the welcome sign, here. He always steals our picture. But if it’s always cool, in September, when the San Genaro festivities are celebrated, we like it even more.
Very close to the poster is another very cool graffiti, dedicated to the unmistakable Audrey Hepburn. They visit it several times and it remains intact, so we cross our fingers so that you can enjoy it clean and beautiful.
As you can see, Italian restaurants are beginning to abound on Mulberry Street. Pizza, pasta and many waiters who go out to the street to try to convince you that their restaurant is the best. We wanted to go to Gelso & Grand, but we resisted the temptation and went to a tavern that has nothing to do with Little Italy.
Because… What could be better in the world than Italian food? Well, Galician food, of course, and in Grand St, around the corner, is the Galician tavern Tomiño. We couldn’t resist a Estrella Galicia and a plate of octopus in New York. Of course, the price was in line with the city, ($8 beer) but one day is a day.
If you want alternatives, but you go from sitting in a restaurant to using it, try entering Alleva. Besides cheeses and very Italian sausages, they also sell takeaway drinks and very good looking sandwiches.
But if you have a natural sweet tooth or can’t “leave Italy” without a good cup of coffee, then you have to go to Ferrara. We warn you that it makes you want to take half a window and try everything, okay? Suggestions? Ice cream, cannolis or sfogliatella… Mmmmm…
To extend this route through Little Italy, we decided to walk through Grand to number 228. There you will see an old, very imposing building in which you can see the inscription “The Bowery Savings Bank”. In fact, in the past, that was a bank, but we are going to finish the route through Little Italy almost as we started it: by reconverting. If you go to Google Maps, you won’t find anything on “The Bowery Savings Bank” but you will have to search for Capitale, the name of a nightclub where weddings and parties of all kinds take place. It’s a shame you can’t go in and gossip, but it’s really cool to see it even from the outside.
As we told you at the beginning, Chinatown has swallowed up Little Italy, so much so that in order to continue to see the cracks in the neighbourhood, you have to go back to Mulberry St.
In the part of Mulberry St between Grand and Hester, you will be able to visit the Italian-American Museum as soon as it reopens, as it is undergoing reforms. It is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2021. You will also find the Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood, where San Genaro is located, the patron saint of the Little Italy festivities, which, as we said at the beginning, are celebrated in September. During the festivities, San Genaro walks in procession through the neighborhood and the atmosphere is very cool and 100% recommended. A year ago, we were there while they were setting up everything.
In this section of the street we have also marked several restaurants that have been recommended to us, one of them with a truculent history behind it, and that is that in the Da Gennaro, Joe Gallo (one of the best known gangsters of the time in New York) was murdered in 1972.
If you’re looking for something a little less dark, you can go to Forlini’s, which is one of the few that have resisted the Chinese invasion and on top of that, a couple of years ago, he was chosen for dinner by several influencers. The interior atmosphere couldn’t be more authentic. Sorry about the photo but the facade was under construction.
Should we recommend this route?
Yes! It’s very easy to visit, it’s near neighborhoods that are also very recommendable, and it won’t take up much of your time. But don’t be fooled, the details about Italy are becoming less and less important, and as soon as you get careless, you realize that you are surrounded by Chinese bazaars, so don’t go with the high expectations regarding samples of Italy.
Well Molaviajer@s, we hope you liked this post with a walking route through Little Italy in New York. You know that we are here for any traveler doubt. Just write us through the contact form and we will answer you as soon as possible.
Walking route in Little Italy was last modified: May 22nd, 2020 by MolaViajar