Cobble Hill has a rich history as a stronghold for Italian-Americans, starting in the early 1900s, when immigrants from Sicily and Naples arrived, many of them finding work along the nearby Red Hook piers. More immigrants from other cities flooded in after WWII, and by the 1960s, the neighborhood was filled with men's-only Italian social clubs, churches, and, of course, restaurants and grocers catering to their gastronomic needs.
Today, Cobble Hill's gorgeous brownstones and easy access make the neighborhood popular for young Manhattan expats, who've been steadily moving over since the 1990s. You can still spot the occasional Virgin Mary statue in a front yard, but the times, they are a'changing. The neighborhood's main drag, along Court Street, still retains some of the flavor of yesteryear, with a smattering of Italian bakeries, butchers, and latticinis still standing, but now they're mixed in with Asian fusion restaurants and snazzy cocktail bars, too.
This is not a bad thing for curious eaters. A walk along Court Street yields a great many wonderful things to snack on, between the remaining old-school standbys and the newer Italian restaurants that pay homage to the red sauce days of yore (Frankie's 457, we're looking at you). And while many of the Italian joints are of the sit-down, tuck-your-napkin-into-your-shirt style, there's still plenty to be had on the cheap and casual side of things. Here's a look at five great Italian snacks along Court Street, all for under $10.
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Jamie Feldmar is a Brooklyn-based freelance food writer and editor. She enjoys ethnic eating adventures and can consume a startling amount of food in one sitting. You can read more here and follow her (mis)adventures here.