Memorial Weekend is fast approaching which means summer is almost here. If you live in New York City that means upcoming weekends of trying to find fun outdoor things to do . Why not try going to a street festival .You will be pleasantly surprised.
Two weekends ago I happened by chance upon the best street festival ever. It was the 9th Avenue International Food Festival, an annual foodies paradise where thousands of people chow into a plethora of international food dishes and drinks.
Minutes into starting my trek up 9th avenue at 42nd street I bump into a man holding a plate filled with the most delicious smelling curry chicken with rice and peas.In the other hand he held a roasted corn dripping in butter with parmigiana cheese and red pepper seeds . Saying sorry, I ask where he got the food and then I was off to get my own.
Finding the roasted corn I jumped on the long line and
wasted no time, sinking my teeth into its sweetness.
As I looked around there are so many food choices it becomes hard to choose ! Can you say Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Colombian BBQ, Asian Pot Stickers, Fried Oreos, Korean Food, Pulled pork, Spanish Paella, Fried Mac n’ Cheese, Zeppoles, Japanese Oyaki, Irish Pub Food, Authentic Greek Food, Louisiana Creole Cooking, Vietnamese Food, Curry Chicken, Italian Sausage, Thai Noodles, Southern Desserts, Indonesian Food, German Sausages and more.
There was a food dish for everyone’s taste palate.My plan then became –try and sample as many dishes as possible .
If you missed this street festival don’t fret. You can see the wonderful pics of the fun day all along the 15-block long smorgasburg avenue filled with food offerings. Spanning from 42nd to 57th streets it was a feast of a festival that would have food connoisseur Chef Ramsey going “#@$%*!.”.
If you didn’t get to be there this year don’t worry There is always next year, plus you can sit back and read my post because I have the perfect recipe for you to feast and salivate through.
Grabbing my first plate of the day I opted for vegetable fried rice andPad Thai which I devoured while walking and enjoying the great weather . With temperatures hitting above 73 degrees walking the full stretch was a great idea and added to my upbeat feeling.Plus the idea burning off the calories of all I was eating and drinking was a win-win in my eyes. Feeling great I headed up to 57th street then turned around walking on the right side to see what merchants were selling, then walking over to the left side, I headed back to 42nd street. I was definitely not trying to miss anything, especially any food and drink options.
In my opinion this street festival literally takes a bite out of the Big Apple—- offering up savory bites, desserts and drinks from practically every country on the planet. Well, maybe not every country, but you catch my drift.
Soon after walking and everyone having so much fun eating, laughing drinking and getting free giveaways it didn’t take me long to dig in to my second plate of the day. This time it was an offering of fried ice cream. When I tell you I died and went to heaven after eating these treats. Guys! These desserts should be outlawed for being so darn good. Oh myyy!
We all know that food and music goes hand in hand. So, of course, as I approached 53rd street a live band was performing the classic Frank Sinatra New York, New York anthem. I immediately joined in and began belting out the song with gusto.
Start spreading the news/I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it/New York, New York
………..If I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you/ New York, New York
There was also a merchant selling old school soul music cds .A huge crowd packed the street outside the stall with people singing and getting down to the the old school jams. It was wonderful to see young and old enjoying the 70’s and 80’s throwbacks.
I too was getting my dance on and enjoying the joy of what music does
Minutes after dancing in place and flexing my singing chops I spotted Alfie’s Bar, Kitchen & Craft Beer. I ordered a sangria and it was DA BOMB!
Other food standouts for me included oysters at Medi . It was also a great idea that they had a chef on hand outside preparing them for customers.
I have to note that whether it was a gyro being freshly made, chicken jerking in a smoke drum or corn-on the-cob roasting —many of the faces behind the merchants represented the city’s vast immigrant population. The array of foods and drinks from various countries made it even more evident that NYC is indeed a melting pot for all.
The 9th Avenue International Food Festival wasn’t just about the food. It is also a place to connect with those you love. For example all around young love was spotted on display. Couples were out in numbers.One such couple was Steve and Meghan . These two I met while standing by watching families and friends jump onto this huge chair to take selfies and pics. They waited rather excitedly to have a picture taken on this big comfy chair.
After attending this fest there is no doubt how much I love NYC! There is no other city like it . I am glad no “walls” will be going up in the Big Apple to keep people out.What makes the Big Apple attractive is its diversity and in a nutshell this is also what brings thousands of people year after year to the 9th Avenue International Food Festival . It is where everyone can come and eat, drink, make friends with people from all over the world, get free stuff , listen to great music and then go home with a full satisfied tummy.There is something to eat for every faith, kosher and non-kosher, vegetarian and meat eaters. I love it!
Here’s to good food, drinks and my satisfied tummy…..by Debra Lewis-Boothman
A married mom of three, living in Brooklyn, New York. More than 15 years as a fact-checker, writer and reporter for PEOPLE Magazine allowed me to interview and network with A-list celebs and US presidents. Now, giving back by sharing my knowledge with young people as a college professor. A lover of family, travel, fitness, fashion, music, film, tv, technology, nature, animals and peace.
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