Monday, 16 September 2019

The Feast of San Gennaro (NYC's Little Italy)


san gennaro by Tewfic El-Sawy on Exposure

Here's a gallery of two dozen monochromatic photographs made at the start of the San Gennaro festival in the Little Italy section of Manhattan.


Every September since 1926, in honor of the San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, the Little Italy section of Lower Manhattan comes alive with people, enjoying the sounds and food of Italy. Now in it's 93rd year, it is estimated the festival attracts more than a million people annually to the streets of Little Italy. The Feast celebrates the life of San Gennaro of Naples who was Bishop of Benevento, Italy and was martyred in 305 AD. His formal name is Januarius I of Benevento. He was Bishop of Benevento and is a martyr and saint of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

The 11 day festival -which started on September 12, features an endless selection of Italian food along with nightly live entertainment, parades, eating competitions, carnival rides, games of skill, and various vendors. The most visually interesting aspect of the festival is the non stop parade of people, local New Yorkers and out of towners, as well as foreign tourists and sightseers.

Although the Feast of San Gennaro is nominally a celebration of faith in the patron saint of Naples, the festive atmosphere and food and are what visitors come for.


Taking my Fuji X-Pro2 and the Fujinon 18-135mm as well as the 12mm Zeiss Touit lenses, I walked (in some places, shuffled due to the number of people) along the whole length of Mulberry Street, and Grand Street. I chose the lunch hours when the pedestrian traffic would at its highest, and when hemmed in by people, I used the wide angle Zeiss.  

The festival had almost nothing to with faith or religiosity, although that will happen to a certain extent when the statue of San Gennaro leads a procession for a mass at Shrine Church of the Most Precious Blood.

It's really all about the food. From sausage-and-pepper sandwiches, cheesy and meat-filled Italian egg rolls, eggplant, chicken and meatball parms, cannolis, cheesecake cones and zeppoles. It's also how many in the United States need to be more careful with their diet and sugar intake.

And these photographs have been made into a audio slideshow with the unmistakable voice of Louis Prima singing "Buena Sera".