I just love the ethnic diversity of the Bronx! Depending on the section of the borough you find yourself in, you will be met with a distinct cultural experience filled with celebrations, food and music reflecting the cultural origins of the local residents.
The Belmont Section, specifically, Little Italy as it is affectionately known, has a history that dates back more than a century, when Italian immigrants settled and built a neighborhood rooted in the traditions of their native country.
The merchants of Arthur Avenue come together each September to create a day of festivities which includes music, fun activities and an opportunity for the community and beyond to enjoy food and drinks from the neighborhood restaurants, as well as a close-up view of local merchandise vendors.
Well, this past Sunday was no exception. The rain was coming down pretty hard the day before, around the metro New York area, and, as predicted, it was still pretty darn wet out Sunday morning.
Regardless of the inclement weather, me and my girls, got dressed, brought along our rain gear and headed north over the Throgs Neck Bridge to the Belmont section of one of our favorite boroughs - the Bronx!
With the Ferragosto beginning at 12noon, the plan was to leave the house by 10:30. Even though it only takes a little over thirty-five minutes (with no traffic) from our Long Island town of Garden City to Arthur Avenue, I wanted to play it safe and get there early, as parking is not always easy to come by.
Boy, am I glad we left when we did because things were starting to get congested when we arrived, nearly a half hour before the official kick-off.
Our first purchase was not food. Seeing Italian-themed apparel, the girls were both excited and insistent on getting "ITALIA" tee shirts, celebrating their heritage, of course. Angelo helped us with our purchase, striking up friendly conversation and posing for a picture.
It's amazing how happy and friendly people are when they are doing what they love! No amount of rain was able to diminish the smiles and warmth of the vendors, who had their own set of challenges, under the tents lining Arthur Avenue.
As we headed onward, we came upon a sweets table filled with cookies and my faves - RAINBOW COOKIES!! My eyes zoomed in on them and we walked away with a ginormous rainbow cookie from Morrone Pastry Shop!!
Fresh, moist and rich in flavor, I really tried to keep it to myself, but alas, my kids didn't allow that to happen!!
(well, after the rainbow cookie of course).
While chatting with Mike about their sauce, a huge deluge of water from the tent fell on my head! (insert hysterical laughter). Thank goodness I was wearing a baseball cap under my slicker hood, which completely protected my face! Would not have been a pretty sight with smudged mascara!
Anyway, I was thrilled to learn that their sauce is not only organic, but vegan as well! I'll be talking more about this product in the near future!
The paper bags were getting wet and I had to roll them and put them in my slicker pockets. It was an interesting look!
In any case, we walked the full length of the fair, really enjoying the music along the way and the singing from the very talented entertainment at Pasquale's Rigoletto Restaurant.
As we doubled back towards 187th Street, from where we originally entered, Kelsey spied a table full of bread! Yes, her favorite food! And of course, she had to sample it! Thumbs up, according to her.
For Your Listening Pleasure...
Needless to say, we didn't finish any of the foods we purchased and had "round 2" at home later on.