Hidden Gem: Ferragosto Festival in the “Little Italy” of the Bronx

I’ve lived in New York City my entire life and I am still amazed at how this City continuously surprises me.

This is a tale about a little neighborhood in a borough that could easily be overlooked by the average New Yorker and by tourists. The borough is the Bronx and the neighborhood is called Belmont. In this inconspicuous neighborhood, there is an area which begins around the intersection of Arthur Avenue and East 187th Street.  This is area is lovingly known as the “Little Italy” of the Bronx; it is the epicenter of all-things-Italian for the Bronxites who live there. Periodically, this area host one of the most wonderful street festivals of the summer: the Ferragosto Festival.

The Ferragosto Festival originated in ancient Rome and was created in 18 B.C.to honor Caesar Augustus. This Festival which celebrates family, friends and food took place on September 7th. The celebration included food and merchandise from the merchants of Belmont, Commedia dell’Arte street performers, celebrity guests, musical performances and tons of fun people watching.

The Decor:

Walking through the fair, I noticed the vibrant colors of the fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers used as decoration. The air was perfumed with the smell of roast meat and the pungent smell of delicious Italian cheeses. Street performers entertained the crowds.

The Drink:

To quench my thirst, I had peaches in white wine. The wine wasn’t the best, but with the addition of Sprite, what was a ho-hum wine drink became a wonderfully effervescent spritzer.

The Food (Savory):

I just couldn’t resist an Italian sausage and pepper sandwich. YUM!

The Food (Sweet):

The finale: fresh made zeppoles, a deep fried Italian pastry covered/smothered in powdered sugar.

Mmm, mmm. Good!

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised by this event.  If I had to sum up this day in one word, it would be: Delish! Thank you New York for never being boring.

Are their any festivals in your neighborhood that you would recommend to natives or to travelers?



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