Arthur Avenue–Still Italian

Street upon street of restaurants, bakeries, pastry shops, and markets cluster around Arthur Avenue, 187th Street and the area sometimes called Belmont, Fordham or Little Italy in the Bronx. There is still a small Italian-American enclave living locally but even more important, many of the stores are still owned and operated by the original families and their descendants. And the prices are good. Holiday time is especially fun as piles of Imagepanettone dressed up for Christmas giving line the shelves. Cheeses, dried meats and imported Italian specialties can be found up and down the streets and cross streets.



Shoppers will find the old familiar china, cappuccino machines and gifts, all at moderate prices,Image

and in the special covered area called the Arthur Avenue Retail Market,


wild boar and hand-made cigars.


Fresh fish, shellfish of every description and especially the dried and salted cod, baccala, that is on most restaurant Image

menus here, abound. I can only assume that the people who buy these delicacies are not only much better cooks than I am but much more willing to peel, shuck, soak and prepare their dinners at home in elaborate ways. And that’s just great, but if you are more inclined to take the easy way, like some of the rest of us, select a restaurant from the many that line the streets in every direction. You can’t really go wrong.



After you eat, prepare to buy. You can spend a long time arguing the merits of the 94-year old bread bakery, Madonia Bros,


where you can bring home very large rounds of crisp warm bread,

or mini-wheels of toasts


or perhaps the hard-as-rocks tarelli that my husband likes so much (there go the dental bills) and Addeo, a third generation bakery,

likewise selling rusks (these are really good in coffee–trust me on this), prosciutto and olive breads, and biscotti. But spare a little appetite for the Image

pastries–drop in at Caffe Egidio and ask them to fill some cannolis for you Image

or look for one of my favorites–the fan shaped multi-layered sfogliatelli with ricotta filling inside.

Image (Source:

Arthur Avenue is an easy walk from the New York (Bronx) Botanical Gardens where you have just seen the Holiday Train Show and the Bronx Zoo where you dropped in to see the polar bears, the reindeer

Bronx_Zoo_reindeer and the wildlife ice-carving competition.

ice carving(Source:

This will be a full day but a good one.

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