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Little Italy: Manhattan, New York

With over 18,00 Restaurants in New York City, you know that there will be some great Italian restaurants. But more than that, when the "boat" came over from Italy carrying Italian immigrants, where do you think they stayed?  But of course... New York, New York, the city so nice, they named it twice.  

The Lower East Side of Manhattan is probably the famous neighborood of all the Little Italy's throughout the United States and has been the setting for such films including Moonstruck.   Mulberry Street and some of Mott Street are mostly the heart of this Italian section.   Located south of Houston Street and the ever-growing Chinatown, this area was originally a stronghold of southern Italians, particularly Neapolitans, Calabrese and Sicilians.   There are many cafes and espresso bars, religious stores, little shops, but now more trendy than authentic restaurants.  There are a number of specialty food and novelty stores.  You can still find find specialty gourmet food shop owners hanging fresh mozzarella and meats in the windows as well as loaves of bread, sausage and other culinary delights.  From September 13-23, 2001, this area will celebrate The San Gennaro feast (Patron Saint of Italy).

An important note:  Having been a visitor of Manhattan's Little Italy as a kid, and now as an adult, its definitely changed, but not in the normal way you might assume.  What used to be loaded with Italian-speaking only residents, they have since vacated and moved into the surrounding boroughs of Staten Island, New Jersey, Long Island, and to a lesser extent, Brooklyn & Queens.  Why did they move?  Well, they were blue and lower class immigrants who could not afford the rising costs real estate and the touristy area.  Additionally, there was a great deal of negative publicity from the "Gotti-Gate" trials, subsequent trials and the fact that the quiet and closely guarded neighborhood (by its residents) was now infiltrated with FBI agents.   John Gotti, once the leader of the Gambino crime family (one of the largest and most revered) had his hangout at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street, and I am almost sure everyone has seen the infamous FBI infrared and black and white surveillance videos of the whole crew including Gotti and Gravano.   Many times I hear negativity against the Asians who keep buying up the real estate of Little Italy making it smaller and smaller each year (the heart of it seems little more than just a few square blocks these days), but, make no mistake, its the Italians that abandoned it, not the Chinese who took over.  The Asian drug trade always had to get clearance from the Italians to deal drugs even in Chinatown.  Today, the streets of Chinatown are not completely safe, and if you park your car at a local parking lot and/or have to walk through any part of Chinatown to get to the bus, subway, a cab and/or your car, beware because now street gangs known as the "Tongs" roam lurking for tourists.  

Cellini Lodge #2206 - Order of Sons of Italy in America
611 Jericho Turnpike, New York, NY 10021
(212) 998-8730  Fax (212) 995-4012  Email
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò is a center for the dissemination of Italian culture in the New York area and the home of Italian studies at New York University. Their mission is to present the best that Italy has to offer in varying fields of endeavor is grounded in the conviction that Italian culture does not belong to Italians alone but is an important part of world culture. To this end, the Casa conducts a regular program of events during the academic year, bringing well-known Italian scholars, political figures, journalists, scientists, artists, and musicians into contact with their American counterparts and others interested in Italian life and issues.

Center for Italian Studies
Fifth floor of the F. Melville Library, SUNY at Stony Brook
Stony Brook, NY 11794-3358
(631) 632-7444  Email
The Center has three specific purposes: first, to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the part of the local academic community on issues that bring about a better understanding of Italy and Italian Americans; second, to become a national and international focus for Italian and Italian American affairs; third, to promote a better understanding of Italy and of Italian Americans by bringing to the general public the latest scholarly findings on Italy and Italian Americans and by organizing cultural activities of general interest. The Center may be expanded, if funds are available, to become also a gathering place for scholars with a variety of interests to meet and discuss new ideas, share on-going work, and provide intellectual stimulation.

Coalition of Italo-American Associations
555 Madison Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10022
(212) 755-1492 Fax (212) 755 3762 Email
Originally founded as a vehicle to keep Italian-Americans informed about local and national developments affecting their social and economic welfare, the Coalition of Italo-American Associations has since emerged as an important force, impacting on virtually every imaginable area of civic and social endeavor. The Coalition, a non-profit, non-partisan, and non-sectarian group, has become an advocate not only for Italian-American interests but numerous other areas as well, especially in working toward putting an end to the violence caused by racial, ethnic, and religious intolerance. Such involvement finds its roots in the three basic tenets on which the Coalition was established: unity, education, and advancing the various interests of our community.

CIAW - Collective of Italian-American Women
c/o Suzanne Iasenza
26 West 90th Street, Suite 1, New York, NY 10024
Fax (212) 772-9108
The Collective of Italian-American women promotes creative, intellectual, cultural and community projects undertaken by and about Italian American women, particularly collaborative projects. CIAW also seeks to establish alliances with other cultural organizations in the United States, Italy, and around the world. We are Italian-American women engaged in establishing a dialogue within and outside of Italian-American communities. Our bimonthly organizational meetings are action-oriented and structured to ensure the development and delivery of stimulating and timely cultural events which we feel will promote and foster social and personal transformation.

The Consulate General of Italy in New York
690 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Phone (212) 737-9100    Fax (212) 249-4945    Email
The jurisdiction of this Consulate General covers only the States of New York and Connecticut.

FIERI National,Inc.
25 West 43rd Street, Suite 1000, New York, NY 10036
Phone (212) 642-2095
FIERI is an organization of Italian American adults between theages of 18 and 39. Its members are dedicated to four major objectives: topreserve the Italian culture and encourage the study of Italian and ItalianAmerican history, to foster the values of higher education and personalachievement in young Italian Americans, to facilitate career opportunities and networking relationships for young professionals and to promote a positive imageof Italian Americans in the mass media and popular culture.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura di New York
686 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021-5009
Phone (212) 879-4242    Fax (212) 861-4018 Email
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura in New York is the cultural office of the Consulate General of Italy, administered by the Department for Cultural Relations (D.G.R.C.) of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the Istituto is to strengthen the cultural links between Italy and the USA by promoting academic exchanges, organizing visual arts exhibitions, sponsoring the translation of Italian books, promoting Italian studies and supporting various events dealing with Italian music, dance, cinema, theater, architecture, literature, cuisine, etc.

Columbia University Department of Italian
502 Hamilton Hall, mail code 2827, 1130 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027
Phone (212) 854-2308  Fax (212) 854-5306  Email

The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce
730 Fifth Avenue, Suite 600, New York, NY 10019
Phone (212) 459-0044    Fax (212) 459-0090    Email
Founded in 1887, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce is an independent, private, not-for-profit U.S. corporation. It represents the interests of companies that have, or are interested in establishing, business relations between the US and Italy, as well as companies interested in expanding their business contacts trough our network of members. The Chamber is affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member of the European-American Chamber of Commerce.

The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University
Casa Italiana, mail code 1401, 1161 Amsterdan Avenue, New York, NY 10027
Phone (212) 854-2306   Fax (212) 854-8479   Email
The Academy, founded in 1991, is conceived by Columbia and the Republic of Italy as a "university within a university" that brings together writers, journalists, scientists, artists, poets, economists, and others from around the world for broad-based intellectual exchange on major international issues. With this mission in mind, the newly renovated Casa accomodates a wide variety of public and private functions with renovations and upgrades designed to create a contemporary academic facility and provide a base for visiting scholars.

John D. Calandra Italian American Institute
25 West 43rd Street, Suite 1000, New York, NY 10036
(212) 642-2095   Email
The overall purpose of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute is basic to the central mission of The City  University of New York (CUNY). Italian-Americans represent the largest European ancestral group in New York State, New York City and at CUNY. Thus, the primary purpose of the  Institute is to foster higher education among Italian-Americans.

Little Italy Neighbors Association (LINA)
LINA is made up of local residents who want to ensure that the community has a voice in neighborhood developments.  Anyone living in the roughly thirty-block area located between Houston Street, Canal Street, Lafayette Street and the Bowery is welcome to join us.

NYPD Columbia Association
PO Box 290735, Brooklyn, NY 11229-0735l  
The Columbia Association (1932-2000) is a Not-For-Profit Fraternal Association of Italian-American Police Officers of the New York City Police Department. Their mission is to develop an understanding and appreciation of the contributions made by Italians and Italian-Americans toward the development of the United States, to increase knowledge and understanding of the cultural heritage, to provide a close union for its members, to be part of an ethnic group of professional law enforcement officers who cherish the spirit of brotherhood and remembrance of their roots and to promote, practice and cherish the spirit of brotherhood among peolpe irrespective of race, creed or religion.

National Organization of Italian-American Women
445 West 59th Street, Suite 1248, New York, NY 10019
Phone (212) 237-8574   Fax (212) 489-6130  Email
The National Organization of Italian American Women  (NOIAW), founded in 1980, is the only national membership organization for women of Italian ancestry. NOIAW serves to promote ethnic pride through cultural and educational programs and scholarships. The national and international network serves to: highlight the accomplishments, history and culture of women of Italian ancestry, support educational opportunities for women and young people of Italian American origin, establish an international link with women of Italian ancestry throughout the world.

Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations
2 UN Plaza, 24th Floor, New York, NY 10017
Phone (212) 486-9191  Fax (212) 486-1036  Email

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