Saturdays during the holidays are the busiest times on Arthur Avenue. This is when you have invasive hoards of nostalgic suburbanites all converge to Arthur Avenue to start stocking up their holiday pantries.. You will see all sorts of pilgrims there: from upstater wannabes from limitrophe Westchester, to seafaring - correction river-faring New Jerseyites and , to complete the tri-state medley, to journeyful folk like me, who can claim they have had cross from Connecticut, almost in Riisian style to over to "where the other half live
". But as I think about it, I may be misrepresenting myself. As you now, given ethnic makeup and experience, I still feel ,four decades later a very strong attachment to that ever shrinking, and besieged tiny enclave in the North Bronx known as Little Italy.
So this afternoon, after a morning of errands followed by a few hours of technical writing, and feeling the need for some fresh air, I decided to fire up the mini coop, and take the express route down to Arthur Avenue for some good old-fashioned, perfectly made espresso coffee and small pre-dusk snack.
Arthur Avenue gets very festive during this time of the year. The streets are decked with decorations, and store fronts are exceptionally packed with all kinds of imported gastronomy and goods. The pork stores are wearing their best suits, Teitel Bros
, proudly showcases its best baccala', the ceramic importer stacks it big pasta bowls a bit higher . Even the local neighborhood pet shop, lets a few extra puppies play behind its window, enough to stop busy pedestrian traffic.
|Vicent's Meat Shop|
Inside the old market, song is everywhere: behind the counters,along the aisles, and next to the fruit and vegetable stands. Sometimes it is hard to determine who is so jolly. Are the patrons ? Or are the vendors belching out their own forms of operatics. I would not be surprised if the music was just a benign contagion of genuine Italian-American happiness. Just look at the unbelievably fresh oyster mushrooms . I will bet you that they will make you sing too.
|Oyster Mushrooms - Boianos Foods|
So to make a run for the border today was not such a bad thing. The espresso and the sfogliatella at new and enlarged De Lillo Pastry shop
on 187th street hit the spot. I am sure I'll be back !
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