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One of New York’s coolest neighborhoods is Little Italy.
The city’s epicenter of Italian heritage and food has been featured in many famous films, including The Godfather Trilogy – with Part II featuring the most scenes there.
It’s unique because it feels very old-school New York and European at the same time, making it a fantastic blend of Italian and American culture.
The streets are decorated with bright colors of the Italian flag, flower archways, and even a large sign that reads, ‘Welcome to Little Italy.’
The biggest draw to Little Italy though is the food. You don’t have to venture here if you’re looking for great New York pizza, but this is certainly the place to go if you want to have pasta in New York City.
Everywhere you look there are options for delicious Italian food. One of the main streets in this neighborhood is Mulberry Street, which features a variety of local Italian restaurants to enjoy. The best time to visit here is in the summer when the weather is warm, so you can enjoy the outdoor seating and people watch as you eat your meal.
I had lunch at a restaurant on Mulberry Street called Ristorante Capri. As I was trying to decide where I wanted – and could afford – to have some pasta in Little Italy, an upbeat round-belled actor/writer/host-with-the-most named Gustavo practically ushered me to a table before I could decide if the lunch special was something I wanted. At the end of the day though, some charm and a nice personality will go far, and so I decided to have my Little Italy lunch at this restaurant.
I am glad I did. The staff was very friendly, and I got a fabulous outdoor seating spot. With my Eat Pray Love book in hand (I am reading that for the second time) I ordered the lunch special, with lasagna for my pasta choice. The lunch special is $15 (and this was one of the cheaper options). The special included bread, a salad, and lasagna. It was incredible! The food was delicious. Everything down to the bread was really, really good.
Even though you feel like you’re in Europe, you still get that New York sense of urgency in which they are trying to get customers and in and out as quickly as possible. I would have loved to sit there and read my book a bit while I was having lunch, especially considering they didn’t have a line of people waiting, but it seems that enjoying the moment was not included in the lunch special.
The interesting thing about New York is that even though I am living here – at least through the summer – it feels like a place where you can have a vacation on your day off. I don’t know whether to attribute that to the fact that it’s all new for me or if it’s the magic of this city, but either way my trip to Little Italy felt like a mini-vacation.
Something cool to note is that Little Italy, Soho, Tribeca, and Chinatown are all right next to each other. You could easily explore all of them in one day. I didn’t see Tribeca, nor did I venture into Chinatown for the simple reason that I had already been to San Francisco’s, which is hands down the best Chinatown in the States to explore.
I did, however, walk around Soho. If you’re not familiar with Soho, it’s an upscale New York neighborhood that has more character in the aesthetic as opposed to glam. This is where you’re going to find expensive boutiques among really cool architecture while also catching celebrities, paparazzi, or both. In my case, I saw Cindy Crawford and her family. I was tempted to say hello to Cindy and see if she remembered me from the day I did background work on a Kid Rock music video during my first year in Los Angeles, but something tells me that she would not have remembered me though…
In conclusion, here are three things to remember:
1. If you want to see celebrities, go to Soho
2. Visit New York’s Little Italy and get yourself some Italian food
3. Never do background on a Kid Rock music video.
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About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com