Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Italian Food on Arthur Avenue in New York by Guest Blogger Elisabeth von Uhl

Thanks to Elisabeth von Uhl for today’s post and pictures from Arthur Avenue in New York. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read her beautiful poetry book Ocean Sea.

Tucked away on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section, near Fordham University in the Bronx is the original “Little Italy” of New York City. Today, the street is home to many stores, cafes, and restaurants. Even more, Arthur Ave. is great place to come when one craves Italian food but has no idea what particular restaurant in which to eat; just look for the giant Italian flag painted on the street or the painted parking meters striped the colors of the Italian flag. Unlike the “Little Italy” in lower Manhattan, there are no waiters shouting at you from store fronts. In the winter, the street is quite; while in the summer, cafe tables line the sidewalk.

Even more enchanting and exciting is the Arthur Ave. Indoor Retail Market. In 1940, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia instituted the Arthur Ave. Retail Market to clean up (and sanitize) the streets by removing the outdoor, push-cart street vendors and giving them a home in an indoor marketplace. Today, it is it one of the few indoor markets that remain in New York City and it houses a cigar-making booth, moderately-priced vegetables and fruits, imported foods from Italy, two eateries which serve wonderful sandwiches and pizza, a florist (in the warmer months) a booth that sells kitchenwares, and a butcher. Sometimes, there is even a person making fresh Zepolis for customers.

This indoor market is a great place to bring visitors. My parents and just everyone I know love the food and enjoy bringing home sausages, homemade pasta, and Italian candies to those not fortunate enough to live near-by.

Also, check out the (almost always sold out!) walking tour of Arthur Ave. offered by The Institute of Culinary Education.

The New York Times Real Estate section recently profiled the Belmont/Arthur Ave. section in the Bronx.

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