On a Sunday the Midtown stretch of Lexington Avenue is closed to traffic and it becomes a lively local street market. We stumbled across this by accident and were very pleased that we did so. Most of the stalls were selling pretty standard market gear that didn’t really appeal to us (a mix of cheap t-shirts and pretty ubiquitous ethnic crafts), but we enjoyed watching all the activity and soaking up the atmosphere.
It’s also a great place for a snack or light meal. We had an excellent smoothie from a stall near the junction with 47th Street East, which was freshly made to order and cost just $5. There were other similar stalls elsewhere, and you could also buy hot-dogs (of course – this is New York!), kebabs, pizza slices, freshly roasted corn-cobs, tortilla wraps, fresh melon chunks and more.
The market runs from approximately 50th Street south to 40th, I think.
There are a lot of options for ordering food from a cart on the street in NYC. We call it "street meat".
If you want to find the best- check out the winners of annual Vendy awards (Oscars for Street Meat!!).
In addition- there are now tons of places offering 99 cent slices of pizza.
For a quick tasty street snack you can rest assured there is a yellow and blue umbrella just about on every corner certainly this is the truth around time square. Now in London I would recommend avoiding street vendor food at all costs but here in NYC its such a stable diet. Besides all vendors are monitered by the consumers protection board so thats good enough endorsement for me.
So do order your dirty water dog with everything on - its messy but its good. The works is frankfurter topped with sauerkraft, onions in a tomato relish & mustard don't ask for ketchup its simply not the done thing & you may only find the vendors in the touristy areas with ketchup (tomato sauce).
No photo to view as this dog was gone in a matter of moments & it was a definite messy affair!
Another typically New York past-time (to us at least!) is eating pretzels... and these cannot be any pretzel, they have to be large and warm!
We got this pretzel on the ferry crossing form Lower Manhattan to Staten Island. We had 25 minutes ahead of us, and were a tad hungry, so got one to share.
It was huge and rather hot!
On the site below you can read up a lot more about the pretzel.
For us this is typically New York.
We have watched New York detective and police dramas like Cagney and Lacey, CSI: New York and Without a Trace, and you always see them eating hotdogs and roasted peanuts.
We were walking, had just left a museum, were cold and hungry, so this just filled the spot!
These street vendors are everywhere in New York.
A touch of exotism : to eat a French pancakes made as in Paris.
It is possible to eat "crepes" in Paris but really they are the speciality of Britany.
This picture was taken in the 7th Avenue at the level of 57th St, the Memorial Day 2003.
New York is full of street vendors selling food. THese include all teh places people have mentioned, such as hot dog stands, middle eastern vendors, and ice cream stands.
However, two more important sources of food on the street are teh fruit carts, which are cheap, obviously healthy sources of food.
The other thing people haven't seemed to mention yet are breakfast carts, teh source of breakfast for many new yorkers on the run. There you can get coffee, tea, bagels, muffins, even eggs or bacon. Other than possibly a bagel, breakfast carts are the cheapest as well as tasty ways to eat breakfast. There pretty common, although much more so around midtown manhattan.
Who hasn't seen a movie set in New York City in which people order food from street vendors? They have stands at every corners and thanks to them, I'll always be amazed at how good I thought NYC smelled! Of course, you can get your oh-so-typical hot dog, but street vendors also sell pretzels, honey roasted nuts, kebabs, and so on. It makes for a quick, unexpensive snack, and we were glad to find out they actually tasted pretty good!
To me what makes NYC and other great cities "great" is the urban-community feel that is brought about by all the local markets.
A welcome absence of chrome&glass / plastic
less "big box" stores like Walmart,
Olive Garden, etc.
(sadly this is changing, and Manhattan is certainly not immune to the Starbucks plague ...)
showcasing local shops & specialties on many streets.
There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of street vendors selling a huge variety of "grazing food". By far the most popular are the hot dog guys where a standard hot dog will be about $2 with or without onions, help yourself to relishes.
Nothing wrong with these whatsoever if you just require a quick bite on the hoof - look for the ones that are busy!
Since I was a little kid one of my favorite things about New York has been the street food. When I visit I don't even eat in very many restaurants because I love it so much. There's nothing like the smell of roasting, candied nuts or grilling kebabs. New York hot dogs are also excellent. Pretzels are also quite good, or they can be. Just make sure that you don't get one that was too close to the charcoal fire because sometimes they taste like lighter fluid. In the winter you can get roasted chestnuts. My personal favorites are the carts that sell Middle Eastern food. Mmmm. So if you're in New York and you're hungry try out one of the carts when you walk by!
This could have gone under 'Shopping Tips' but I decided to put it here since it's not really a touristy thing, it's more what local New Yorkers do.
On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and especially Saturday mornings Union Square is turned into a farmer's market.
Depending on the season you can get fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, fresh-cut flowers, fresh lamb and the wool shorn from the sheep. Practically all of it is brought by the farmers from Up-state NY who produce the goods themselves.
In the fall and winter you will see more variteies of apples than you ever thought existed!
A very neat place to visit!
Union Square is basically at Broadway and E 17th Street.
Personally, I'm sick of them. But for those visiting the city, it can be fun to check out a street fair. Most often, you'll just stumble upon them. But if you want to know where they are in advance, here's a site with the calendar. At street fairs, you'll typically find food (gyros, fruit shakes, crepes, grilled corn on the cob), clothing, trinkets, and massages (some of the people giving massages are quite aggressive in getting you to come to their booths).
Astoria Art Fair, Queens, July 2001
One of the reasons NYC somehow got my heart was due to its powerful art scene and the large number of things one can make related to this field. I had some art classes, made some exhibitions and sold some pictures in SOHO's streets.
On the picture is me in Queens, on the 1st Astoria Art Fair in Athena Park Astoria.
Another beautiful thing about New York City...on weekends, you may be lucky enough to stumble on a street market, where you will find an excellent array of food (we tried yummy falafel, lemonade, and flavored popcorn), and several stands selling jewelry, trinkets, clothing, art prints, etc. It's a colorful display of the city's multicultural attitude, and though crowded with locals and tourists, makes for a lovely Sunday afternoon adventure!