About three weeks ago we visited the city that never sleeps; New York City. There is plenty to do, almost too much. Not in a negative sense, because it’s all fun. It is almost necessary to book a stay of about three months, because otherwise it is impossible to see everything you want to see. That’s not a bad thing, especially if you know where your priorities lie and which activities you want to check off anyway. We can help you with that, because we have really discovered a pearl of an activity. One where you get to know the real New York, not just the Manhattan from the movies. We are talking about a Food Cart Tour(how New York of us) in Queens. From Manhattan it’s about 20 minutes by subway, but immediately you are in a completely different and cozy world.
We will have lunch this time on the street. Walking, during a real Food Cart Tour in Midtown (bookable via turnstiletours.com). New York has a long history when it comes to street vending, and although everyone knows pretzels and hot dogs, there are carts selling dishes from around the world. Street food is one of the best kept secrets. It’s not for nothing that a prestigious prize was handed out every year to the street vendor with the tastiest dishes. …
Finally we ended in Bryant Park, at the kiosk of Wafels and Dinges. This is the work of a Belgian immigrant, who has been so successful that he exchanged street carts for a number of fixed kiosks. A success story, and that’s not surprising: if we had a waffle with whipped cream in front of us, can’t help but eat every last cumb.
Most of the same food carts selling the ubiquitous street meat also offer a strikingly vegan dish that is both traditional and modern. Falafel checks all the boxes from traditional, healthy, and delicious. On this hunger inducing virtual program, our resident food expert Brian Hoffman will explore all aspects of this humble little fritter from its historic controversial origins to recommendations on the best versions in New York to an explanation on how they are made. Along the way, we will learn from some of the best falafel chefs on New York food carts, and Brian will show us how to make great falafel at home with a live cooking demonstration.
Public markets are one of the foundational institutions of urban life. The Project for Public Spaces defines public markets as indoor or outdoor markets that “operate in public space, serve locally owned and operated businesses, and have public goals.” They not only a place of commerce, or a tourist attraction, but a place for convening and community building that cuts across social, cultural, and economic strata. In many American cities, such spaces can be hard to find, which is why we cherish the truly great public markets that have survived. In this virtual program, we will survey some of our favorite public markets that we’ve had the chance to visit, what makes them great, and what are their “public goals,” from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Philadelphia to Flint, and even here in New York City.
For the past month, teams have been exploring New York City completing scavenger hunt challenges all about street vending. With over 100 teams competing, it has been an intense race, as teams had to complete 40 challenges while also raising money for the Street Vendor Project. Join us for our closing ceremonies as we look at some of the highlights of the competition, and most importantly, announce the winners and award prizes in these categories:
Scavenger Hunt Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
Scavenger Hunt Runner-Up – Eat Something New in Queens
Vendor Power Spirit Award – Bones Day
Fundraising Champion – Cloudy with a Chance of Matzah Balls
In 1835, Naples-born painter Nicolino Calyo arrived in New York, and over the next 20 years, he produced a body of work that captured both the grandeur and minutia of city life. An experienced landscape painter, one of his first works was also one of the grandest—a series of paintings of the great fire of December 16–17, 1835, which would build his fame in America and lead to a number of touring exhibitions, including large-scale panoramas, a popular entertainment of the era. He also produced over 100 paintings of street vendors, and invaluable catalogue of the sidewalk economy of 1840s New York. In this virtual program, we will discuss Calyo’s life and career, and examine some of his most notable works, large and small.
Food carts are an iconic image of New York City that most New Yorkers pass every day. Even if they stop to enjoy their food, not many take in the beauty and visual appeal of food carts – that’s why photographer Maxwell Schiano published a 64-page zine of his photography celebrating these icons, New York City Vibe, Volume One. In this conversation, we will learn about his process and check out his stunning photos that reveal so many wonderful details about these carts and the people working inside them. We will also be joined by Carina Kauffman-Gutierrez, deputy director of the Street Vendor Project, who will update us on the current challenges vendors face in New York City.
Take a virtual walk through Manhattan’s Financial District and learn about some of the food carts and food trucks that serve this neighborhood. We will check out some of our favorite spots, and talk to vendors about their food, how their businesses have fared during the pandemic, and how they are managing as the city reopens. We wish we could pass out tastings with everyone, but we will share the spots that we visit to check out on your own.
April 6 marks the 104th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, but the impacts of this global conflict were already being felt in New York City. Starting in 1914, panicked markets, inefficient infrastructure, and marauding U-boats caused price shocks and shortages, and the war led directly to the creation of new modes of food distribution, leading to the creation of New York City’s wholesale and retail public market system that still exists today. In this program, we will examine reports from the time period by the city and state Departments and Markets about how new open-air markets were stood up, pushcart peddlers were mobilized to bring food to neighborhoods, and the public was educated to conserve scarce or strategically valuable ingredients.