Sightseeing in Manhattan the Sixth: Little Italy

Hey there blog readers!

My sister really wanted to see Little Italy and Chinatown and on a bitterly cold day we went there. In this blog post I am going to tell you about Little Italy and in the next post it's going to be about Chinatown. I'd prefer to blog more often, but shorter posts. Well, lets see how that works. Writing blog posts, building a business, household, keeping contact to friends and family, and building new contacts in New York can be pretty challenging to juggle all at once. Quite often I am reaching my limits and feel frustrated about it. But I think that's a normal thing and it takes time until I get the hang of it.

Little Italy is a neighborhood in lower Manhattan, once known for its large population of Italians. Today the neighborhood consists of only a few Italian stores and restaurants.

Map from Google

Little Italy used to be bigger, but nowadays it is only three blocks on Mulberry Street. Bill Tonelli from New York magazine said, "Once, Little Italy was like an insular Neapolitan village re-created on these shores, with its own language, customs, and financial and cultural institutions."[4] Little Italy was not the largest Italian neighborhood in New York City, as East Harlem (as Italian Harlem) had a larger Italian population. Tonelli said that Little Italy "was perhaps the city’s poorest Italian neighborhood".[4] In 1910 Little Italy had almost 10,000 Italians; that was the peak of the community's Italian population. At the turn of the 20th century over 90% of the residents of the Fourteenth Ward were of Italian birth or origins.[4] Tonnelli said that it meant "that residents began moving out to more spacious digs almost as soon as they arrived."[4]

After World War II, many residents of the Lower East Side began moving to Brooklyn, Staten Island, eastern Long Island, and New Jersey. Chinese immigrants became an increased presence after the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965 removed immigration restrictions, and the Manhattan Chinatown to Little Italy's south expanded.

Little Italy residents have seen organized crime since the early 1900s. Powerful members of the Italian Mafia operated in Little Italy. Little Italy was the locale of the fictional Corleone crime family depicted in the novel The Godfather and the three movies based on it. (Source: Wikipedia)

If you walk around the area of Mulberry Street you see also Chinese stores and restaurants. It's hard to tell where Little Italy ends and Chinatown begins.

On the following picture you can see this a little. The left red building has an Italian restaurant in the bottom and the right building has a Chinese store or restaurant. It's all quite mixed, but there were rules made between the Italian and Chinese community how far the Chinese are allowed to put Chinese letters outside the buildings. The leftover of Little Italy shall be kept.

If we were unsure if we were in Little Italy, we really had proof of it in this street.

"Welcome to Little Italy"

I found the house painted in the Italian colors quite funny! Those Italian-Americans! ;-)

Fire escapes in Little Italy are painted quite often in bright colors and also used as awesome advertisement holders.

And because I think they are so pretty, here are even more colorful fires escapes.

For me as a German fire escapes like that are nothing that I know. The thought of having such stairs passing my bedroom or living room window is quite scary. Anybody could just break into my apartment or walk by so much closer than I want them close to me... a very unconfortable thought indeed!

I really liked this painted advertisement. For me it brings a special Italian-American flair to the mind that I know from movies.

And here is another beautiful art piece on one of the walls of a building.

While walking closer towards Chinatown we passed "Elizabeth Street" and right away needed to take a picture as my sister's name is Elisabeth as well (German spelling with a "s"). :-) It was so cold with a super icy wind that we were wearing hats and our hoods!

One day I'd like to visit Little Italy with Daniel and try out one of the restaurants.

I wish you a wonderful day!

Lots of greetings,


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