San Gennaro Festival Sails Through Community Board 2
NOLITA — After last year's emotionally charged battle between supporters of the historic Feast of San Gennaro and boutique owners, Community Board 2 recommended approval Thursday night for this year's festival.
CB2's street activities committee endorsed San Gennaro's request for a street permit following a meeting attended by dozens of supporters of the 86-year-old Italian-American event, district manager Bob Gormley said Friday morning. A vote count was not immediately available.
Last January, CB2 urged Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Street Activity Permit Office to consider cutting the size of the seven-block festival, which takes place on Mulberry Street between Houston and Canal streets, by three blocks. Ending San Gennaro at Kenmare Street would avoid disturbance of "the emerging business community in NoLita, [which] expressed significant concerns about lost profits and disruption caused by the festival," a letter from CB2 said.
Robert Marshall, a member of San Gennaro's board of directors praised the decision and said it came as a surprise.
"We anticipated there might be some minor suggestions, but there were none," said Marshall, a Little Italy resident for almost 50 years.
"It looks like we'll have another successful year and bring culture and commerce back again," he added.
On the "Save Little Italy" Facebook page, San Gennaro board member John Fratta thanked locals for offering their support Thursday night.
"Everything went very good," he wrote. "Not one person in opposition came to the meeting to fight us."
The festival, which includes music, religious processions and a cannoli-eating competition, is scheduled to be held from Thurs., Sept 13 through Sun., Sept 23.
The hours requested in the permit application are 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 noon to 12:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Music will stop each night at 10 p.m., board member Vivian Catenaccio said.