Arthur Avenue, the Little Italy of the Bronx, is the only real Italian neighborhood left in NYC. If you’re looking for an authentic Italian American experience, this is the place to be. However, it’s not so easy to get to. It’s a long, hilly walk from the subway. Or if you take a cab, the cab driver will not know where it is. I know cab drivers are supposed to know where to go in the boroughs, but they don’t, especially in the Bronx and Queens and sometimes, Brooklyn. I suggest you have directions or your phone GPS on hand to assist the driver.
The main strip is Arthur Avenue from East 184th Street to East 187th Street. On East 187th Street, there’s Artuso’s Pastry, the home of the famous Pope cookies. In case you are looking for them, the Pope cookies were made for Pope Benedict’s visit to New York and his recent resignation, but they do not have Pope cookies now.
Walk west to Egidio Pastry and admire the case full of beautiful pastries.
The history of the building is evident with its tin ceiling.
DeLillo Pastry has outdoor seating and a mighty fine cannoli with creamy ricotta filling.
There are a lot of bakeries on this small strip, so if you are doing a tasting, be prepared to eat a lot or to take some home. I brought my rolling backpack so that I could easily bring things home with me.
In addition to bakeries, there are ravioli/pasta shops, seafood markets, meat markets, cheese shops, pizzerias, Italian restaurants and kitchen stores. At Marie’s, you can get dinnerware and housewares, as well as coffee, from Italy.
OK, vegetarians in the crowd will not want to look at the next photo–the body of a sheep hanging in the window of a meat market.
Teitel Brothers is an Italian grocery store owned by a Jewish family that has been in the neighborhood since 1915.
Now this is something you don’t see anymore–a bread bakery. Zito’s and Vesuvio’s in the city closed awhile ago. Thank goodness Addeo’s is still here in the Bronx.
Look at that bread.
At Biancardi’s meat market, you can still get capuzelle, or sheep’s head.
Madonia Bakery has beautiful bread and also fills cannoli to order.
I got some yummy cookies for the road.
In the middle of the block, there’s an indoor market, the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, with a butcher, fish and produce market as well as products from Italy and Arthur Avenue T-shirts and souvenirs.
The butcher here had beef feet. I’ve never seen these before and am not sure how Italians use them.
If you’re into offal, this is the place to be. Here’s cotenne, the pig skin I’ve written about, in the rear of this photo.
OK, I definitely share the sentiment with these T-shirts.
Check out Cerini Coffee, a fun store with housewares from Italy.
At Morrone Pastry Shop & Café, I got a rainbow cookie cake slice and a tortoni. Both were delicious. (I also bought a rainbow cookie cake for my aunt’s birthday. I froze it the day I bought it and thawed it a week later. It was fresh, moist and delicious.)
In case you thought I just had sweets, I did stop for a slice of pizza at Catania’s.
What to Eat: pastries and bread from Artuso’s, Egidio’s, DeLillo’s, Madonia’s, Addeo’s or Morrone’s; pizza from Catania’s.
Where to Shop: Marie’s and Cerini’s for kitchen wares; the Arthur Avenue Retail Market for souvenirs, produce and Italian goods; Borgatti’s for ravioli; Randazzo’s for seafood.
What to See: Columbus statue at East 183rd Street and Arthur Avenue, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church on East 187th Street.