Makansutra: Eating In New York

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Makansutra, September 20, 2015

by KF Seetoh

I was taken on a food and heritage spin around Brooklyn, “to places where tourist would look out of place” ironically by Cindy Vandenbosch, founder of Turnstile Tours (www.turnstiletours.com), and her husband Andrew Gustafson, offering a range of tours and have 7 guides under their fold specialising in different fields, including food. A chunk of their profits goes to the Vendy folks to support their efforts in protecting the livelihoods of the migrant food cart vendors.

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Mayor LaGuardia and the War on Sidewalk Christmas Tree Sellers

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?>> Continue reading

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

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).>> Continue reading

LA Stories: More Than Just Food Trucks

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.>> Continue reading

Celebrate the Season: Our Favorite Holiday Songs

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:

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