New York City is composed of a multitude of different ethnicities, often living for many generations condensed into their own small neighborhood in each borough of the city. Most New Yorkers and tourists know of the "Little Italy" neighborhood in Manhattan, where the famous Feast of San Gennaro is held each year, and Bensonhurst in Brooklyn, whose Italian ethnic markets I've blogged about previously, and there are also predominate Italian neighborhoods in both Queens and Staten Island.
Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx is synonymous with another "Little Italy" area which stretches across East 187th Street from Arthur Avenue to Prospect Avenue, and is similarly lined with delis, bakeries, cafes, and various Italian merchants and restaurants. (All photos will enlarge when clicked on once, and then clicked on again when they open on a new page)
The Provolone cheese balls were wearing Santa Hats in this Arthur Ave store window!
According to the Arthur Ave website: "Among the notables born and raised here are actor Chazz Palminteri, author Don DiLillo and rock star Dion DiMucci, whose group, Dion and the Belmonts, is named after a local street (Belmont Avenue). Joe Pesci began his acting career after being discovered by Robert DeNiro at a local neighborhood restaurant, where Pesci worked as the maitre'd."
My husband was born in Southern Italy, in the Provence of Reggio Calabria, and it is customary every Christmas Eve for a Southern Italian to have a "Feast of the Seven Fishes." One of his favorite fishes to eat is baccala, a cod fish that has been dried and preserved by salting (photo above on the left), or stocco, an air dried cod (photo above on the right.) Obviously these type of fish are not readily available in most markets so a visit to an Italian neighborhood is a must before Christmas, to buy this fish and to begin to rehydrate it for cooking at home. We made the trip from Brooklyn up to the Bronx to attend the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden, which is in close proximity to Arthur Ave and decided to shop for our baccala while we were there.
We stopped at Randazzo's Seafood located at 2327 Arthur Avenue. A part of Arthur Avenue for over eighty years, a third generation of the Randazzo family runs the store.
Their website states that fresh fish comes in daily, many varieties imported from Italy!
They specialize in fresh clams, mussels, live crabs and lobsters, and they had a clam bar outside where you could stop and have a half or whole dozen oysters or clams shucked, to be eaten right then and there!
The array of fish inside for sale was dazzling!
There was every type of fish and shellfish imaginable!
One visit to this store and I could buy every fish I needed and more to make my Feast of the Seven Fishes! We did indeed buy a nice big piece of baccala and I prepared it two ways after I reconstituted it by soaking it in many changes of water. I fried the thick portions and I made the thin portions "Florentine style" which you can see in this post.
This is some of the seafood I prepared for Christmas Eve. Top left in the photo collage above is a platter of crab cakes, fried shrimp, and fried baccala, top right is baccala Florentine, bottom left are baked lobster tails oreganata, and bottom right is stuffed salmon. We all love seafood in our family, so this is one of our favorite holiday meals!
There are many other wonderful seafood markets along Arthur Avenue.
There are also many wonderful restaurants that serve seafood...
...and all kinds of Italian cuisine specialties!
I have much more to show, so part two of Arthur Ave will be coming up soon!
I'm adding this post to Michael's blog Designs by Gollum "Foodie Friday," Sandi of The Whistlestop Cafe Cooking "Friday Favorites Linky Party, Laurie of Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie for "A Few of my Favorite Things-Saturday," and Beverly of How Sweet the Sound for "Pink Sunday" as there were a few pink shrimp and lobsters among my photos! Thank you to all the gracious hostesses of these events for allowing us to share in all the fun!