Last Call: Scorsese’s The Irishman restores Little Italy to all its ’70s glory

Screenshot: Netflix

I haven’t seen The Irishman yet, but I already know it’s the greatest film ever made. God, I have missed Joe Pesci so much. He would not be coming out of retirement unless this movie were well worth his time. With Scorsese directing, this thing could be three straight hours of everyone playing canasta in Harvey Keitel’s garage and it would still be the greatest movie in all of cinematic history.

The Irishman already holds a special place in my heart because it’s largely set in and around “my” place: Colandrea New Corner in Brooklyn. Before we moved away, my husband and I were at New Corner at least once a month. It was where we spent birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and our favorite occasion, Feel Good Thursdays. Other food writers would spend their weekends checking out hot new spots, and I would always find myself at the same damn restaurant that looked like it hadn’t been redecorated since the ’70s, full of garish oil paintings and lottery machines, eating baked clams, escarole, and the best fettuccine Alfredo on earth, and loving every second of it. Red sauce flows through my veins.

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Screenshot: Netflix

Today and tomorrow, Netflix has transformed Manhattan’s Little Italy into what it looked like back on August 1st, 1975, because why not? I’m usually not one for corporate stunts, but I will admit this one made me painfully homesick for New York. Italians haven’t lived in Little Italy since I was a kid—first they migrated out to Brooklyn and the Bronx where there were better housing options, and then to Staten Island, Long Island, and New Jersey, where they could own houses with very classy marble columns and two-car garages to hold his-and-hers Camaros. The Little Italy I grew up in—Bensonhurst—is now one of NYC’s seven Chinatowns. The Little Italy in Manhattan was always full of tourist trap restaurants, though in the past few years even the fake Italians are getting gentrified out of the place. New York City is run by a different kind of mob now.

If any of you happen to be strolling around the neighborhood during this promotion, report back to us about the experience. Even though this is nothing more than an over-the-top corporate promotional stunt, it’s still nice to see. Not as nice as watching Joe Pesci repeatedly stomp a guy in the face, but still.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.