In this episode of The Italian American Podcast, we visit Arthur Avenue, the Little Italy in the Bronx, NY. While many “Little Italy” neighborhoods throughout the United States have waned, Arthur Avenue remains alive and vibrant, and in this episode you will hear sounds from the main indoor marketplace on Arthur Avenue.
VIDEO: Please note we have also created a video of our visit to Arthur Avenue, which you can find on our subscribers only page. To access it click the button below to subscribe to our newsletter, and we will send you the link to the page.
A little bit about Arthur Avenue, largely from the official Arthur Avenue website….
Generations of Italian families have given the area a special small-town character unique for an urban setting, at the same time establishing traditions that permeate the neighborhood like the sweet smell of sausage and peppers. Among the notables born and raised here are actor Chazz Palminteri, author Don DiLillo and rock star Dion DiMucci, whose group, Dion and the Belmonts, is named after a local street (Belmont Avenue). Joe Pesci began his acting career after being discovered by Robert DeNiro at a local neighborhood restaurant, where Pesci worked as the maitre’d.
Today the tradition continues with grandchildren and great-grandchildren remaining on Arthur Avenue, or returning here, to own and manage business begun by their immigrant ancestors. “Nearly every shop on Arthur Avenue is already some sort of institution,” as one writer put it. And although, like many Little Italy’s across the nation, the neighborhood has changed and is perhaps smaller than it once was, it remains vibrant and active, with the vast array of markets, butchers, pasta and pastry shops supported not only by long-time area residents, but also their relatives and children from far and wide, who regularly return for the tastes and memories.
“I’m very proud of being Italian-American, but people don’t realize that the mafia is just this aberration. The real community is built on the working man, the guy who’s the cop, the fireman, the truck driver, the bus driver.” – Chazz Palminteri
- “The Italian traditions are traditions that are being lost.” – Arthur Avenue customer on why he visits Little Italy
- “Anything that was being built was being done by the Italians that were living on Arthur Avenue.” – David Greco on the Bronx being built up
- “We’re not friends, we’re family.” – David Greco talking about the relationship with his customers at Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue
- “We put a lot of pride and energy into what we do.” – David Greco on the shops and restaurants on Arthur Avenue
- “This is how Italy used to be.” – David Greco on the customer service on Arthur Avenue
- “Our neighborhood is very special.” – David Greco on Arthur Avenue
- “Peasant food is what made the Italians strong.” – David Greco from Mike’s Deli on Arthur Avenue
- “We’re a tourist attraction, not a tourist trap.” – David Greco on Arthur Avenue, Little Italy in the Bronx
Anthony Fasano and Dolores Alfieri
Co-Hosts, The Italian American Podcast