Tag Archives: Little Italy

Little Italy Isn’t Dead: Albanese Meats and Poultry

Periodically, there’s an article about how Little Italy is dead or dying. Yes, it’s more of a tourist destination and less of a neighborhood where Italian people live. There are still some Italians there, and there are Italian-American-owned businesses there. A recent article in the New York Times made me want to write a series on Little Italy Isn’t Dead and feature some of the businesses there.

Albanese Meats and Poultry

Albanese Meats and Poultry reminds us that Little Italy used to encompass a much larger area that included Elizabeth Street. In fact, when the Italians settled in the area, they lived near people from the same villages or regions. Mulberry Street was for Neapolitans; Elizabeth Street was where Sicilians lived. And indeed, the founders of Albanese Meats and Poultry were from Sicily. Moe Albanese is the current owner, who took the shop over from his parents who immigrated from Sicily. They opened it in 1923, when his mother, Mary, was only 18 years old, according to an interview with Moe by photographers James and Karla Murray. According to a New York Times article in October 2017, Moe still works there, though he is in his 90s. The shop was recently featured as the butcher shop in the Amazon show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

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7 NYC Candy Stores

When I was a kid, I remember trick-or-treating in my neighborhood and getting large-sized chocolate bars of many of the popular candies.  There was a woman who always gave out popcorn balls and a doctor who gave out apples.  They were not my favorites, but looking back on it, those were more of the memorable Halloween treats.  As I got older, I noticed the candy became smaller, as people opted for smaller-sized treats to give out, probably due to the cost of candy.

I don’t think of specialty candy when I think of Halloween candy, but if you are in the city for Halloween and want to pick up some candy or find yourself a sweet treat to celebrate, here are some candy stores to visit.  Admittedly, I am not a big candy eater, so I don’t frequent candy stores all that often.  My favorite candy store in the city is Sockerbit because I have a like for all things Scandinavian, and I like the tart gummy candies.

Meatpacking District

Sugar Factory–At Sugar Factory, you can get a variety of candy cocktails with flavors of popular candies like Jolly Rancher, Blow Pop, Lemon Heads and Hubba Bubba bubble gum with a real piece of Hubba Bubba.  There are also 60-oz. drinks in ginormous goblets.  Sugar Factory is a restaurant, but it also has a retail candy store.

46 Gansevoort Street (between Washington Street & Greenwich Street), (212) 414-8700, www.sugarfactory.com/new-york-citys-meatpacking-district-0

Midtown East

FAO Schweetz–A candy store inside the famous toy store.  It has all types of candy, including giant gummy bears.

767 5th Avenue, (212) 644-9400, www.fao.com

FAO Schweetz
FAO Schweetz

Little Italy

Papabubble–If you like hard candy, Papabubble is the place for you.  The shop is a modest size and specializes in artisan hard candy in a variety of shapes and flavors.

380 Broome Street (between Mott Street & Mulberry Street), (212) 966-2599, www.papabubbleny.com

Lower East Side

Economy Candy–An old-fashioned candy store with all kinds of candy, including nuts and jelly beans.  They also have novelty gift items like Pez and specialty candies like halvah and Turkish delight.

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108 Rivington Street (between Ludlow Street & Essex Street), (212) 254-1531, www.economycandy.com

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West Village

Sockerbit–A Swedish candy store with all kinds of colorful licorice and gummy candies in sweet, sour and tart varieties.  My favorite of all the candy stores listed.  They also have a limited selection of Scandinavian knickknacks and gourmet food products.

89 Christopher Street (between 7th Avenue South & Bleecker Street), (212) 206-8170, www.sockerbit.com

Swedish sweets

Swedish sweets

The London Candy Co.–For the expat Brit or Britophile, the London Candy Co. has all  your favorite candy from the UK.

267 Bleecker Street (between Cornelia Street & Morton Street), (212) 427-2129, www.thelondoncandycompany.com

Sugar and Plumm–The main location of this candy store is on the Upper West Side, but this outpost is a candy store and bakery.  The UWS location is a bistro with a full menu along with a retail candy store.  The desserts here will satisfy any sweet tooth!

257 Bleecker Street, (212) 388-5757, www.sugarandplumm.com/

Two for Tuesday: San Gennaro Cannoli

Last year, I did a Two for Tuesday on San Gennaro cannoli and compared the cannoli from Ferrara and La Ferrara.  This year, I’m featuring cannoli from Caffe Palermo on Mulberry Street and Caffe Roma on Broome Street.  Caffe Palermo has a sign advertising the best cannoli, and it is also the sponsor of the cannoli man.

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I thought the cannoli cream and shell were good and had a hint of cinnamon.

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Caffe Roma’s cannoli cream was a little less ricotta-y than Caffe Palermo’s and the shell was a bit more cinnamon-y.

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My favorite cannoli in Little Italy would probably be a combination of Ferrara’s and La Ferrara’s.

OK, I know it’s two for Tuesday, but I’m going to throw in the frozen cannoli.  I had wanted to try this last year.  It’s a cannoli shell filled with soft serve vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream.  I got vanilla.  The soft serve isn’t the best quality, so I would opt for a real cannoli over this.

Little Italy Icons Closing

SPQR on Mulberry Street has closed along with bakery and cafe La Bella Ferrara.  I, like many, will surely miss the lovely smell and large trays of cookies inside the bakery.  Of course, it makes me sad to see Little Italy disappearing, but change is inevitable.  It’s just a shame that the local color of so many cities in the United States has to be changed to make real estate developers and landlords richer.

treats from La Bella Ferrara

treats from La Bella Ferrara

Two for Tuesday: Ice Cream

Yes, ice cream is a popular topic on my blog because I love it!  I love iced treats in all forms–ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt…(am I the only one who remembers ice milk?).  Recently, I went to one of my favorite ice cream shops in the city, Sundaes and Cones, in the East Village, with a hankering for my favorite flavor there–corn.  I got that along with ginger and Thai tea.  What a delight!  One was better than the other, but my favorite is still corn!

ginger, corn and Thai tea ice cream

In addition to old favorites, I love giving new places a try.  While in Little Italy for San Gennaro, I stepped into Mo Gelato, a new gelateria.  Of course, gelato is better for you than ice cream, so I was being healthy when I got a double scoop (in a cup, mind you).  Cherry and mascarpone flavors.  Both were out of this world.  The mascarpone was so creamy, but the cherry was the showstopper.  Also creamy, it just had the perfect cherry flavor and a tiny bit of a crunch.  L’arte del Gelato finally has some competition.

mascarpone and cherry gelato

Weekend Whets

New York City Honey Festival, Saturday, September 15, Shore Front Pkwy & Beach 96th Street, Queens, NY, 10 a.m. to sundown:  This festival is the culmination of a weeklong festival celebrating honey. 

New York City Pizza Run, Saturday, September 15, Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan:  Participants run a 2.25-mile course while stopping to eat pizza at three checkpoints.  Sounds like a crazy event, but a part of the proceeds go to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF).

San Gennaro Festival, Thursday, September 13 through September 23, Mulberry Street, Little Italy, Manhattan:  The 86th annual festival is an open street fair with booths of food and games.  The festival includes a Mass and procession on the saint’s feast day.  There are cannoli- and pizza-eating contests as well as sausage and peppers, zeppole, clams and other traditional Italian festival food.

Vendy Awards, Saturday, September 15, Governor’s Island, NYC:  A cook-off of street food vendors with the crowning of the best street food vendor.