Feast of San Gennaro: Authenticity Lost?

I used to go to the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy every September. My friends and I would have a few drinks, go sit and have our pictures taken in the "big chair", and people watch. There's nothing like a festival to draw out the city's characters.

Even though we always had a good time, something about the festival always bothered me. It all just felt so manufactured and watered down. Another chance for the same old street vendors to set up and take advantage of the throngs. Walking the feast, I passed table after table of imitation Forza Italia jerseys, bad techno CDs, and plastic saints. Every one of the restaurants has the same outdoor setup and seemingly the same menu. I guess I had expected a taste of the authentic old school Little Italy, scenes out of the Godfather II, and some real Italian food. For my two cents, like much of New York, the festival has become a victim of its own success. Its so big now that its lost the character that made it great. I suppose if you look really hard, you can still find the quiet scenes, the vignettes you hope to find, but they are harder and harder to find with each passing year.

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