This year the 86th annual San Gennaro festival attracted thousands of people to Manhattan’s Little Italy, which included many St. John’s University students.
From Sept. 13 to Sept. 23, the streets of Little Italy were converted into a huge Italian festival complete with live music, food and carnival rides.
Junior Adrian Tovar, a resident assistant in Century Hall, ran a program to the San Gennaro festival from one of the St. John’s residence halls.
“We really want to encourage residents to take full advantage of Manhattan,” he said. “San Gennarro was a great way to kick off the semester.”
Montgoris Dining Hall got into the San Gennaro spirit, and offered students an Italian feast on Sept. 19, the official feast day of San Gennaro. Ziti, sausage and peppers, cannolis and a chocolate fountain made for a delicious dinner.
For the third year in a row, junior Eliane Abou-Assi, made her way into Little Italy for the 11-day festival. She explained that after a semester studying abroad, the festival had a whole new personal meaning to her.
“A group of the people I went to Europe with decided we should all go together,” she said. “We all missed Rome and were hoping for a little taste of it at San Gennaro.”
“It was no Campo De Fiori,” she joked, referring to the plaza in Rome crawling with bars and college-aged students at night. “But, with the Italians running around, the cannolis and the mass amounts of food, it brought back great memories of our time in Italy.”
Junior Patricia Holliday, another student who has studied abroad, agreed with her.
“The festival really took me back to my times in Rome,” she stated. “Also, the food was delicious.”
The smell of pizza and spaghetti lingered in the air as vendors tried to convince festival attendees that their food was the closest thing to Italy one can find. Italian food including pasta, pizza, fried Oreos, gelato, candy apples and canollis topped the list of festival favorites.
Some vendors also offered Italian souvenirs. Little kids all over the festival could be seen sporting “I Love Italia” t-shirts. Buttons, pins and even water bottles had the Italian flag on them and there was also the occasional Italian calcio jersey. A large Ferris wheel and other carnival rides and games kept both kids and adults entertained.
“This is my second year going,” said junior Nora Pavone. “I really love the atmosphere of the festival.”
Junior Jordan Bouchard, enthusiastically agreed, “San Gennaro festival is just one of the few reminders of why I love going to school in New York City.”