With over 40,000 people living in 17 small blocks, the Italian immigrants who moved into the area bordered by Canal, Lafayette, and Houston streets faced severe outbreaks of such diseases as tuberculosis. Although afflicted by illness and poverty, this area was alive with the authentic smells, sites, and sounds of Italy. Today almost all that remains of Little Italy is Mulberry Street. Although many Italians have left the neighborhood, they return for family gatherings, marriages, funerals, festivals, and saints’ days.
- Old St. Patrick’s Church is located in Little Italy. It was New York’s Roman Catholic Cathedral until 1879 when it was replaced by the larger building on Fifth Avenue.
- Little Italy’s oldest, largest, and liveliest fiesta, the Feast of San Gennaro, attracts more than three million people over an 11-day period each September.