Thursday, May 24, 2012

New York’s Urban Fuel

There’s good reason for the famous phrase “in a New York minute.” It’s another way of saying fast, and it sums up the furious pace of New York life, which has given rise to the city’s wildly popular “street food.” This urban fuel for a city on the go reflects all of New York’s diverse cultures, as food trucks offer everything from spicy Middle Eastern falafel or Jamaican jerk chicken to Belgian waffles.

Spend a day in New York, and you’ll understand why it’s one of the most popular destinations on Earth. The “city that never sleeps” features looming skyscrapers, elegant bridges, the vast Central Park, world-class museums, and intriguing bohemian neighborhoods lined with vintage boutiques. Equally diverse are New York’s international cultures – and attendant cuisines – which you can sample at street carts across the city.
New York has a long history of street food, perhaps best exemplified by the basic hot dog. In 1936, Oscar Mayer rolled out the first portable hot dog cart – called the Wienermobile – and hot dogs have been sold on the streets of New York ever since. You’ll spy vendors everywhere, from Battery Park to Times Square, and at a dollar and 50 cents for a hot dog heaped with condiments, it’s one of the best deals in New York. For a taste of old New York, track down Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, which began as a nickel counter in Coney Island in 1916, and is still the best place to sample a dog slathered in sauerkraut and relish.
If America is a melting pot, New York’s culinary variety is one of its finest manifestations. You could find your way around New York on the scent from street carts alone, wafting the delicious smells of Italian pizza, Chinese crackling duck, Middle Eastern lamb kebabs, and freshly baked bagels smeared with cream cheese, first introduced by Jewish immigrants.
The street carts of Washington Square Park and nearby Bleecker Street specialize in spicy Asian fare, served up in a lively performance space jostling with buskers, chess players, and skateboarders. The historic neighborhood of SoHo offers the chance to see 19th-century architecture and quaintly cobblestoned streets, while eating from street carts selling everything from luscious chopped steak in corn tacos with salsa to brightly colored cupcakes. Midtown is the quintessential Manhattan neighborhood: skyscrapers glint in the noonday sun, spilling out office workers who continually appear to be in a mad dash. Not surprisingly, this area is a happy hunting ground for street carts, which cater to those on the hunt for a fast, hot lunch, whether they’re workers or tourists.

New York street food is an intriguing mix of fast foods from around the world, often all for sale in one place

The Best Places to Eat Street Food

Super Tacos
As the sun sets on weekdays, dinner rolls into town for the Upper West Side. Teetering stacks of corn tortillas are unwrapped, gas grills fired up, and the Super Tacos Sobre Ruedas (“On Wheels”) truck at 96th and Broadway slides open its windows for business. The tacos are a study in simplicity: grilled meats are heaped onto corn tortillas and sprinkled with chopped onions and cilantro. Eating them is simple too: the warm, foldable tacos are wolfed down at the dented, stainless steel bar that’s lit by a buzzing fluorescent light. The roast pork and barbacoa chicken tacos are the runaway winners, tender and juicy; and the supple slivers of boiled tongue are tenderly robust.
Southwest corner of 96th St. and Broadway, New York City; open 6 PM–2 AM Mon–Thu, 6 PM–3 AM Fri, noon–2 AM Sat–Sun; (917) 837 0866
Also in New York
NY Dosa (212 431 1733; inexpensive), on the southern edge of Washington Square Park, serves spicy South Indian vegan food. For tasty burritos, tacos, and creamy guacamole on the run, try SoHo’s Calexico (www.calexicocart. com; inexpensive). The company won the hard-contested Vendy Award (also known as “the street food Oscars”) in 2008. In 2010 the award was won by Middle Eastern food vendor King of Falafel & Shawarma (www.; inexpensive), normally found parked up at 30th Street and Broadway serving unbeatable falafel and chicken rice platters. Jamaican Dutchy (www.; inexpensive) specializes in juicy jerk chicken. Satisfy your sweet tooth with warm waffles at Wafels and Dinges (; inexpensive), a company with trucks at various locations around Manhattan, including a permanent one on Fulton and Front streets.
Also in the US
Los Angeles matches New York for superb food trucks. Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice features a range of street eats, including Slammin’ Sliders (; inexpensive), with juicy Kobe-Wagyu beef sliders (small burgers); and Che Che’s Argentinian Cuisine (; inexpensive), with tasty chicken empanadas.
Around the World
In the rest of the world, street carts offer one of the most memorable ways to sample local cuisine, from spicy soups in Southeast Asia to crepes in Paris. The pushcarts of Istanbul are outstanding, particularly those on the Galata Bridge waterfront on the European side of the Bosphorus. These are laden with treats including juicy kebabs, skewers of sausage, grilled corn on the cob, and silky pastries stuffed with feta.
Classic New York Bars
Munching on street food builds up a thirst, which is easily assuaged by turning to New York’s famous beer bars. Drink in history along with the beer at the oldest pub in New York City, McSorley’s Old Ale House (
This landmark bar opened in 1854, and its clientele has included both President Lincoln and ex-Beatle John Lennon. It serves only one drink: its own ale, available in light or dark.
The bustling P.J. Clarke’s, in Midtown (www., is one of the city’s most famous alehouses, with a superb lineup of international and domestic beers. Wrap up the night at the Ear Inn (, a historic pub built in 1817 near the Hudson River that functioned as a speakeasy during Prohibition. It features a good mix of beers on tap and serves hearty American bar snacks.
Three Days in New York City
New York has it all: iconic skyscrapers, lush parks, world-class museums, dazzling Times Square, and glitzy Broadway shows.
DAY ONE : Go to the top of the Empire State Building for jaw-dropping 360° views, to get a better idea of the city you’ll be exploring. Spend the afternoon being wowed by art at the Museum of Modern Art.
DAY TWO : Head to Central Park in the morning, focusing your explorations on the area between 59th and 79th streets, where you can saunter along shaded paths from the wooded Ramble to the elegant Bethesda Terrace. Then up the cultural stakes by admiring the Picasso masterpieces and the Roman Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
DAY THREE : Start the day with a brisk walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1883. Afterward, head to SoHo to shop in exquisite designer boutiques, and then cap off the day with a visit to neon-lit Times Square and a Broadway show in the nearby theater district.

The Empire State Building, Manhattan, has been a landmark since 1930
Getting to New York
New York City is served by three airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark. All share one website: Travel into town by subway, bus, or taxi.
Where to stay in New York
Off SoHo Suites Hotel (inexpensive) features simple but clean rooms.
Hotel Chelsea (moderate) has large, wellmaintained rooms, and sits in the middle of hip Chelsea.
Enjoy Midtown luxury at the well-known Waldorf Astoria (expensive), with its sumptuous lobby and spacious rooms.
Times Square Visitor Center is the most central tourist office, at 1560 Broadway; (212) 768 1560;

No comments:

Post a Comment