LITTLE ITALY, Manhattan (WABC) -- Thousands jammed onto Mulberry Street on Thursday as the Annual Feast of San Gennaro kicked off - just like it did for decades before COVID.
In a prime position by the statue for which the feast is named, Anthony Curatola was selling his grandmother's specialty - calzone wrapped in an egg roll.
"The connection from food and memories is very strong, so giving that to people makes me feel good - you know, give a little piece of her," Curatola said.
It's his memories that keep Curatola going - for 97 years, his family owned a restaurant just steps away. The restaurant closed for good during the pandemic. Now he has a food truck in Florida.
The festival, over a week long, celebrates San Gennaro - the patron saint of Naples, and went strong on Mulberry Street since the mid-1920s. In 2020, there was no one on the streets.
"It was terrible, it was deserted, and now we come back and it's beautiful and full of people, and you're outside and you want to bring everybody back to this wonderful city," said Gina Sarracco.
MORE NEWS: CDC warns rare condition in kids could rise this fall
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News