For more than a decade, New York City-based social enterprise Turnstile Tours has been sharing the stories and flavors of Manhattan’s street food, and now they are coming to Queens. This new guided tasting tour of Jackson Heights builds on the company’s knowledge, experience, and partnerships working with street vendors, and brings visitors to one of the best food destinations — street food or otherwise — in the city.
Like Turnstile’s Food Cart Tours in Midtown and the Financial District, which they have been offering since 2010, the Jackson Heights installment will give visitors the chance to not only taste a wide diversity of foods, but also meet the vendors themselves and learn about their communities. Tastings will come from a rotating assortment of street vendors, including Tibetan momo, Colombian arepas, Mexican al pastor tacos, and much more.
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.
On this edition, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and its big investment in small business. Ensuring no neighbor is left out of the windfall from the coastal complex’s growth. The yard’s deep historical connection to World War II that many might not know. What the city’s largest Spanish speaking television station sacrificed to survive. Then CUNY’s effort to assist Hollywood with its diversity push.
A New York City tour business has been growing despite the pandemic shutdown by adding new viable services.
Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson are the husband and wife duo at the helm of Turnstile Tours. Both of them have decades of experience in history, museums and tourism. Over the past 10 years, they’ve built a diverse portfolio of programs with unique New York stories at historic sites such as the South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
When the Covid-19 pandemic threatened to shut down their Brooklyn tour-guide business—Turnstile Tours—husband-and-wife team Cindy VandenBosch and Andrew Gustafson reinvented their nine-year-old company on the fly.
Founded in 2012, Turnstile Tours’ unofficial motto is “We share stories of how New York City works.” By taking customers behind the scenes of different aspects of city life, especially in Brooklyn, the company aims to highlight the work of ordinary New Yorkers.
Turnstile Tours, a Brooklyn-based company, normally offers custom-made walking tours of locations like the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Essex Market, in partnership with local businesses and organizations. Today, the same ethos of community and access which animates Turnstile’s walking tours is available through its Virtual Programs.
Offered via Zoom webinar, the Virtual Programs are described as “online experiences…talking with makers, street vendors, and museum staff, showing artifacts and materials from our archives, and sharing stories and research that don’t always make it into our tours.” In one memorable program from early in the pandemic, tour guide Brian Hoffman spoke remotely with a woman buying a pint of lychee at the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory.
A selection of Turnstile’s Virtual Programs is available for free at the company’s website; new programs, generally, three or four per week, are e-ticketed events. And the company has now resumed in-person walking tours of Prospect Park, under precautions like limited group size and mandatory masks.
Since the WHO has categorized COVID-19 as a pandemic, the global economy has suffered, and millions of people are filing for unemployment. There are several webinars that are designed to help brands and companies stay relevant, but several lack the fundamental issue for most small business owners (i.e. restaurants, cafes, etc.), which is, how do I get money into my business now.
While you can still appreciate the beauty of the park for brief respites of fresh air with appropriate social distancing, the Prospect Park Alliance is encouraging visitors to head online to explore the green space with a new resource.
Virtual Prospect Park includes resources from educators, historians, gardeners and others to allow a look into Brooklyn’s backyard while following the directive to stay indoors as much as possible during the crisis.