In New York, the Little Italy neighbourhood becomes a pedestrian mall every weekend over the summer. Mulberry Street is closed to vehicular traffic between Canal and Broome Streets and the whole area becomes one big, family-friendly party.
Restaurants bring tables out to the street and you’re transported to the Old Country, except most people speak English. There are cannoli stands too if you want to satisfy your sweet tooth.
This pedestrian-friendly celebration of all things Italy starts on Memorial Day Weekend (the last weekend in May) and ends at the end of September.
I thought this was a recent development. However, today I came across a New York Times article from November, 1974 that reads “It was called “pedonalizzazione” in recognition of a traditional Italian approach to creation of networks of malls and tiny piazzas. The word translates literally into “pedestrianization” and a city official said, it was to be regarded as the first step toward the revitalization of Little Italy.” (Read the full the article here.) Now I stand corrected!
The pros: the vibrant atmosphere, the chance to share a fun summer night with your family or friends, and the fact that you don’t have to spend any money if you have a tight budget as walking is free!
The cons: it can get crowded, the food isn’t great: most places are tourist traps. My friends and I tried two restaurants and the food was average. However, I love Lombardi’s pizza.