Mayor LaGuardia and the War on Sidewalk Christmas Tree Sellers

Filed to: Public MarketsStreet Vending

Trees for sale on the sidewalk in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

It’s that time of year again – we’ve had our first snow in New York City, Christmas music is playing in every shop and store, and Christmas tree stands line the sidewalks.

While most Americans buy their Christmas trees from places like hardware stores, garden centers, churches, or Wal-Mart, New Yorkers rely on a somewhat unique economy of sellers that occupy public sidewalks all over the city for one month a year. So, how did we arrive at this arrangement, and why does it persist when so much of our city’s sidewalk economy has been stamped out? (more…)


Edible Brooklyn: Worth the Trip: The Moore Street Market

Filed to: PressPublic Markets

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Edible Brooklyn, Winter 2014

by Betsy Bradley

“Welcome to the Island of Fried Pig Parts!”

Cindy VandenBosch, eyes twinkling, has just secured a spot at the bustling formica counter that comprises the first stop on her Immigrant Foodways tour of East Williamsburg — a tiny, blue-and-white luncheonette named La Isla Cuchifritos.

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Last Chance to Visit Vendy Plaza at East Harlem’s La Marqueta Sunday, Nov 23

Filed to: EventsPublic MarketsStreet Vending

Credit: Vendy Awards

This coming Sunday, November 23, is the last weekend to attend Vendy Plaza, at least for now. For the past four Sundays, our friends at the Street Vendor Project and the Vendy Awards have turned East Harlem’s historic La Marqueta public market into a gathering place for outdoor food vendors, music, and culture.

La Marqueta was originally called the Park Avenue Retail Market when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened it in 1936 as a place for street vendors to operate in East Harlem, part of his campaign to get vendors off the streets and into indoor markets. While more than a dozen of these public markets were built in the 1930’s and 40’s, today only four are still operating and are owned by the City of New York: La Marqueta, the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market (which will likely be relocated as part of the Essex Crossing development), the Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx, and the Moore Street Market in Williamsburg (which you can visit on our Immigrant Foodways Tour on select Saturdays). (more…)


LA Stories: More Than Just Food Trucks

Filed to: Public MarketsStreet Vending

Cindy enjoys some goat tacos at Flor del Rio Birrieria in East LA

Cindy and Andrew recently traveled to Los Angeles for a much-needed vacation.  But of course, they could not resist exploring the waterfronts, markets, and street food of Southern California.  Over the coming weeks, they will be sharing some of their experiences.

Confession: we travelled all the way to Los Angeles, and we did not eat from a single food truck.  Now, given our chosen profession, that may seem an unforgivable sin, but during our seven days in Southern California, we did find our way to many street vendors, markets, and incredible immigrant-owned restaurants across the Los Angeles area.  We are admitted neophytes to the sprawling Los Angeles food scene, but thanks to the advice of more seasoned friends, we had nary a regrettable meal on our trip. (more…)


Celebrate the Season: Our Favorite Holiday Songs

Filed to: Public MarketsStreet Vending

Andrew & Cindy's Christmas tree, decorated to these sounds

Last night Cindy and I kicked off our holiday season by decorating our tree, baking some treats, and turning the iTunes music library to “Christmas – shuffle.” Many of the songs you’ll find on that playlist we have learned about, and come to love, from our experiences researching, developing, and giving tours in New York. From Mexican hymns to Trinidadian party anthems, we have incorporated many of the diverse sounds, tastes, and traditions found in this city into our own household celebration of the season. Here are just some of our favorites: (more…)