Cousin Brucie explains why New York City’s San Gennaro Feast is so special

Told in an interview by Cousin Brucie as he prepares for this year’s San Gennaro Feast.

There are few things on this planet that challenge all the senses — be it sight, be it sound, be it smell, be it taste, be it just walking around (if you consider that a sense). One thing that has them all is the San Gennaro Feast.

San Gennaro Feast is really a wonderful part of learning about and experiencing New York City’s native habitat. This is the 89th annual feast, and it promises to be an exciting challenge to the senses. The lights, the feelings, and the food at this feast truly identifies New York City. I always say on air that if you’re coming to New York City, you must go down to Little Italy to make your visit complete.

Little Italy is the summation of all the things I’ve been talking about, and it’s annual San Gennaro Feast is really something special.

Everybody gathers, locals and out-of-town visitors, to have a great time, to mingle and to get a feeling of what’s happening around us.

There are so few family events left – not only in New York City but across the country and around the world —  but some, like the San Gennaro Feast, still linger for a reason. With all the excitement (and, of course, food) the most outstanding part of the feast is the people. The people make the feast – everything else becomes an accessory.

This mixture of folks – local and visiting – make up an amazing collage of a party, and a big one at that. It’s the perfect mixture, a perfect gravy. The streets are jam packed, and you can hardly walk. But it’s kind of nice because you are forced to stop and smell, in this case not the roses, but the marinara and the sausage.

This is the twentieth Feast that I’ve been a part of – my tenth for SiriusXM – and every year it feels fresh and new. I always look forward to the people — they light me up and make me feel so good.

We have a live broadcast, where we go on air for three hours, right from the streets of Little Italy (at Grand & Mott streets). We set up chairs and have an actual old-fashioned live radio studio, one of the best studios because it’s outdoors. It’s way up close, it’s personal, it’s not one of these huge arenas. So everybody gets a sense of the broadcast — the fun and the feast — and it all combines to a heck of a live show.

Every year we have different talent come through. This year we have the Rip Chords, who have had several big hits, including Hey Little Cobra.

We also have the Fireflies, who sing about love, which is very evident in the audience. Their song You Were Mine is an iconic, beautiful “make-out” ballad.

We also have many surprise guests coming down — people just drop in last minute to hear the broadcast and say hello. We get celebrities and politicians from all over the area, and it’s kind of fun.

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This year Ferraro‘s — a world famous Italian bakery known for their gelato — is trying for a Guinness World Record by making the highest and the biggest ice-cream cone ever produced. They expect it to be more than 11 feet tall, and that’ll be on our show, too.

We also serve food, because part of this amazing tribal meet is food. Of course, when you think Italians, you think of food and you think of love. Well we have plenty of love in our music and the food that we serve — cannoli, pizza and pasta — we bring that into the audience. Sometimes gets a little messy, but everyone has a good time.

I attend a lot of festivals in New York and all over the country, but I truly love this festival. I guess it’s what the Italians would call tradizione – tradition. It’s a tradition of having a wonderful time and sharing. We share attitude, not only New York attitude but attitudes of those around the world who come here. That’s what it’s all about.

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