Little Italy Is Very Little, and Not Very Italian

Feb 20, 2018 1666

BY: Elizabeth A. Harris

On Grand Street, the Banh Mi Saigon Vietnamese sandwich shop sits just past the Baz Bagel and Restaurant, which serves $14 bagels with Nova and scallion cream cheese. Down the road stands the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. This is Little Italy in Manhattan. Or what’s left of it.

Once home to thousands of Italians and Italian-Americans, Little Italy has long since shrunk to a name on a street map and — at most — a three-block stretch of red-sauce joints on Mulberry Street patronized almost entirely by tourists. For every handful of Italian restaurants, there is at least one souvenir shop stocked with I ♥ New York T-shirts, Yankee ski caps and kitschy New York license plates that read “Bada Bing,” “Fuhgeddaboudit” or “Donald Trump.”

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