After NoLita neighbors unsuccessfully tried to get the yearly San Gennaro festival cut off at Kenmare Street organizers are trying to woo neighboring boutiques into the family with a compromise. Don't laugh, they've offered to build a stage for the shops to put on fashion shows in the middle of the Feast. One San Gennaro board member even calls the offer one "they'd be foolish not to accept."
Needless to say, the shops aren't jumping at the offer. One store manager explained the cool response to DNAInfo simply: "There's not a lot of women who'd feel comfortable walking on a runway during San Gennaro. I just feel like they are two completely different things."
Another pointed out that she sells "silk dresses—I'm not going to put them out there and have them come back smelling like barbecue."
Even if the shops don't participate, Feast folk say the fashion shows will happen (the festival matches up with Fashion Week this year). Without the stores help they would simply showcase Italian clothes.
Meanwhile, we continue to support the sentiments of community member Victor Papa, who wrote a letter to the Italian community last month that said, among other things, that the Feast's "deficiencies are as hard to defend for us, as they are easy to exploit by those who choose to take issue with it. The Feast is deteriorating and it is, at times, an embarrassment...I support it, but not if if continues to become like a street fair and loses its unique iconographic purpose and image."
This year's Feast will hit Mulberry Street September 15-25.