Saturday, December 30, 2006

Deli @ Little Italy

Little Italy, as the name suggests, is a section of Lower Manhattan where Italian immigrants first settled after arriving in New York City at the turn of the century. Today, the neighborhood has diminished to about half its original size due to the ever expansion of Chinatown, as well as the decrease in the number of new Italian immigrants to the US. Most of the first and second generation Italians who grew up in the area have moved on to other parts of the city or to the suburbs.

What makes Lower Manhattan so interesting is the dynamics of its population over time. Prior to the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 1900s, this area was inhabited mostly by Irish immigrants who came here in the early 1800s. Now, Little Italy is slowly being engulfed by a newer immigrant population, ie. the Chinese.

This photo was taken inside an Italian deli and it shows a big wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese being cut up into smaller pieces. The yellow cubes of cheese on the right are Pecorino Romano and you can see someone walking by with a tray of freshly made canolis.