Ray Kristosik was born and raised in Little Italy, so he's been attending Feast of the Assumption festivities for as long as he can remember. "You were excited," he says. "It was in your backyard, and the bad part was, after the Feast was over, you had to go back to school. It was the end of summer." Today, he's the executive director of the Little Italy Redevelopment Corp., so we asked him for some advice for making your way around the neighborhood's marquee event.
1. Start at the church. "See exactly what the reason is for the Feast," he says. The Feast celebrates the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven. A small shrine next to the church offers revelers a respite from the festivities. It's a quiet area where you can light a candle and sit in contemplation or prayer.
2. Don't miss the 15th. It is the actual holy day and when the Feast's procession occurs each year. "It's an old-school kind of thing," Kristosik explains. "My grandparents did it. My parents did it. It's something that's happened for such a long time. It links everyone together."
3. Come hungry. Food is a big part of the Feast. The church offers a cavatelli dinner on the 15th, and neighborhood restaurants set up booths on the street, where you can find food ranging from pasta to clams to fried dough. "I wouldn't eat before I come," Kristosik says. For a break from the crowds, duck into the backyard patio at Guarino's or Nido Italia.