Italian Character Remains in Changing Belmont Area

Orazio Carciotto, owner of Casa Della Moazzarella in the Belmont BID in the Bronx (Photo by Justin McCallum via Norwood News)

Orazio Carciotto, owner of Casa Della Moazzarella, in the Belmont BID in the Bronx. (Photo by Justin McCallum via Norwood News)

For New Yorkers and tourists alike, Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is a destination rich with sights and smells: of sausages hanging in deli windows, of freshly baked Italian loaves, of marinara sauce ladled on pasta piled high on platters.

The area known as the Little Italy of the Bronx, though, has undergone a huge transformation in recent years, with the population now largely Mexican and Albanian, Justin McCallum of the Norwood News reports.

Buoyed by the Belmont Business Improvement District’s efforts to keep the area faithful to its history, however, the Arthur Avenue neighborhood keeps drawing visitors seeking an Italian experience.

“…[W]hat strikes people about this neighborhood is you have two bakeries almost side by side, five or six pastry shops within a stone’s throw, and a lot of Italian delis and restaurants all on the same street,” said Philip Marino, executive director of the Belmont BID.

Sometimes, the purveyors of Italian foods and goods aren’t Italian. But they still do their part to promote the Italian feel of the neighborhood. Like Teitel Brothers, for instance.

Gilbert Teitel, the Jewish owner of the 99-year-old family-run shop, keeps the shopping experience authentic for customers by importing directly from Italy. “We do what we can to help the neighborhood and keep customs going, and we’re doing well in spite of it,” Teitel said.

But Italian merchants can also be found.

Orazio Carciotto, a native Italian who moved to the Bronx 27 years ago, keeps his shop Casa Della Mozzarella at the corner of East 187th Street and Arthur Avenue as genuine as possible. “[T]his neighborhood feels like you’re in Italy,” Carciotto said.  “I really try to make my place feel and look like home.”

Carciotto has had success in business, churning out 3,000 pounds of hand-made mozzarella weekly. His philosophy that “a few little secrets make a big difference” has garnered his eatery a Zagat rating, and a partnership with The New York Yankees.

To read more about the area and the Belmont BID’s future plans, go to Norwood News.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *