Just some of the selection at Mike's Deli
Tourists will go down to lower Manhattan looking for Little Italy, but those in the know will head to the Bronx. Just west of The Bronx Zoo is the Belmont neighborhood, and the heart of Belmont is Arthur Ave (see map). This is the neighborhood that has given us Dion and the Belmonts, Chaz Palmenteri and Joe Pesci. For me it has always been the home to some of the best Italian food in NYC.
Arthur Ave. Market
In 1940 NYC opened the Arthur Ave. Retail Market. And indoor space for 117 vendors to move their carts off of the street. Today that space is taken by about a dozen stores. Among these is Peter's Meat Market - voted NYC's best butcher in 2012 by the NY Daily News.
Coils of sausages
Half a lamb
If you are visiting at lunch time I would suggest stopping at Mike's Deli/Grecco's in the Market. The sandwiches are huge and the prices are reasonable.
Mike's Special combo
Mike's also has a wide selection of deli meat and cheese available to take home with you.
If you are coming for a larger meal there are two restaurants that I strongly suggest, one is Dominick's where tables are communal and meals are family style.
If seafood is more your style try Randazzo's, just down the block.
There are many great bakeries on the block. Far too many to choose from. Finally,if you are looking for some canned goods to take back stop at Teitel's, selling goods for 100 years, still using the sidewalk to draw you in.
Walk around the neighborhood and you can see that things have not really changed in the past 75 years. The apartment buildings are still the same, except for some new dorms for nearby Fordham University.
The tall buildings have elevators, the short ones don't
Mt. Carmel Church serves mostly Hispanics today
So if you want to see NYC's real Little Italy forget about lower Manhattan, come up to the Bronx. Go to the Zoo then come to eat your fill.