We've been waiting for the pungent smell of sausages and zeppoles to fill downtown, as well as the sight of somewhat portly men in velour tracksuits (no joke, you've seen them too) when the San Gennaro Festival returns to Little Italy this Thursday, and it seems that the Mayor has been anticipating it as well: San Gennaro Festival organizers have added two former prosecutors to their board, as officials are worried that "organized crime had once again tainted the annual festival in Little Italy," as the NY Times puts it. The Post calls Nelson Boxer and Austin Campriello New Ciao Hounds. Mayor Giuliani had started to rehaul the festival when he was in office; in 1996, the festival was almost cancelled when a federal probe found how deep the Genovese crime family's connections to the festival were. more recently, the festival fired a "reputed 'made' member of the Bonanno crime family."

Little Italy's site has information on San Gennaro as well: The Grand Procession is on Saturday at 2PM ("the statue of San Gennaro carried from its permanent home in the Most Precious Blood Church through the streets of Little Italy") and the Big Feast is on Sunday. Gothamist thinks there's nothing better than wandering from booth to booth, eating gelati here, zeppoles there, getting a cheap drink there, trying not to get lost in the crowd of others, for a mid-September jaunt. And Gothamist Food has some picks for great Italian wine.