San Gennaro Festival Gets Off to Rainy Start

By Ben Fractenberg on September 15, 2011 7:30pm 

NOLITA — The rain may have been coming down Thursday, but gray skies and a little drizzle couldn't dampen the spirits of revelers on the opening day of San Gennaro.

The crowds were rather thin along Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy, but there were still a number of people who braved the elements to get a taste of some sausage and peppers or sip on a midday drink.

"I knew it would be raining and not a lot of people," said Dayna Safonte, 26, who traveled in from Long Island for the festivities with her friend Matt Ruocco, 30.

The two drank pina coladas under an awning to avoid the drizzle.

"I'm here for the food," said Alex Merino, 25, who wasn't fazed by the rain — or the fried Oreo he scarfed down.

Boutiques along Mulberry Street said business was a little slow Thursday, but they were hoping they would still get a good flow of foot traffic over the weekend.

"We have an opening [to the street], so this spot is pretty good," said Paul Greyshock, who owns Space Cowboy, which sells cowboy boots and Western-style belts. 

Festival organizers and boutique owners squared off over the annual event earlier this year, after the business community pressed to the have the feast's territory diminished due to a loss of customers in trendy Nolita. 

Greyshock said the boutique next to him closed down for the week after losing a lot of business last year during the festival.

But a man working at an Italian food cart, La Bella Palermo, said he didn't feel any animosity from the local businesses around him.

"The lady behind us is friendly, always saying hello," he said. "It's all about having a good time."

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement