Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Family and Ferrara and a Visit to Little Italy
What would a visit to Little Italy be without a big scoop (or three) of gelato?
At least, that's what my cousin thought last weekend, and I have to say that I agree.
My Aunt Annette, Uncle Dave and two cousins from Indiana visited New York last weekend, and I was excited to play tour guide. Dave had been to New York before -- I believe as a teenager -- but the city was new to Annette, David (a student at Ball State) and Emily (an entering high school freshman). They arrived in Bay Ridge at 10 a.m. Saturday morning on the dot, and it wasn't long before we checked the first item off their to-do list: a visit to Little Italy.
I was happy not only to see my family, but also to take in some typical New York experiences that I hadn't done since we first moved here, or even since our honeymoon in New York almost seven years ago. Their visit gave me an excuse to do something I'm usually leery of nowadays -- be a tourist. It was an eye-opening -- and fun -- experience.
But back to Little Italy. The neighborhood is surrounded by Chinatown, so of course we couldn't see one without the other. The weather was sweltering, which made the fish markets smellier and the crowds sweatier. The black-market purse and watch dealers were out in full-force. We managed to make our way down the street without succumbing to the lures of a "Rolox" (unlike one of Paul's friends a few months back).
Little Italy is what they really wanted to see anyway, and Emily preferred not to leave with gelato -- and who are we to let her eat alone?! Of course, none of us could resist the air conditioned allure of Ferrara, perhaps the neighborhood's most well-known bakery and cafe (and just one of the places where I've searched for the city's best cannoli). Founded in 1892, it also bills itself as America's first espresso bar.
From about 15 or so flavors of gelati and sorbet, Paul and I settled for a scoop each of strawberry and raspberry gelato and blackberry sorbet. Paul didn't even put up a fuss when I nixed his suggestion of vanilla gelato. As if I'd waste one of my scoops on something so plain. Ha!
It was a good start to a pleasantly tiring weekend. More to come!