Little Italy tradition trumped Nolita trendiness Tuesday with Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to allow the Feast of San Gennaro to run the full seven blocks this year.
There had been a clash between the festival’s organizers and neighborhood businesses, particularly some upscale Nolita boutique owners who complained to the city about the noise, greasy food stench and crowds from previous years. The local Community Board, in siding with the businesses, had wanted the 85-year-old festival’s route to be pared down.
Elated festival planners Tuesday promised to work with the boutiques.
“We’re one neighborhood, so we want to be friends,” said Vivian Catenaccio, San Gennaro board vice president.
In exchange for allowing the festival to run its entire length on Mulberry Street, from Houston to Canal streets, a mayoral spokeswoman said the event will begin a half-hour later at 11:30 a.m. and end a half-hour earlier at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. On other days, the festival will still end at 11 p.m.
Bob Gormley, of Community Board 2, said the time change is “a step in the right direction,” but added it’s “a minor reduction in hours that will barely be felt.”