Get Your Gyro On - The Ninth Avenue Food Festival, NYC


Photo by roboppy — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

In honor of this week’s featured festival, the globalFEST, we will be focusing on a food festival that celebrates similar themes: ethnicity, joyfullness and community pride.

The Ninth Avenue Food Festival is one of the most popular and largest street fairs in the Northeast. For two days in May, the area known as Hell’s Kitchen is closed to cars and opened to over a million vendors and visitors. Because a large part of the money raised goes to benefit community organizations in Hell’s Kitchen, area vendors attract an impressive following of locals and fans, but the fair is open to outside merchants and restaurants from the rest of Manhattan as well.

Senegal, Sicily, Argentina, Thailand… from Poland to Puerto Rico, the sights, sounds and tastes of one of the most colorful cities in the world are à la carte all weekend. Visitors can savor bourbon ham sandwiches, barbequed octopus, oysters on the half shell, paella, and of course, the best sausage and pepper gyro in the world. (Or at least in Hell’s Kitchen!)

What sets the 9th Avenue Food Festival apart from other street fairs is the assortment of eclectic food and entertainment that goes a bit further than the good old gyro. Passerbys will encounter alligator, catfish nuggets, sweetbreads and roasted shark on the very same block as Egyptian belly dancing, Arabian scarf dancing and salsa routines. Irish musicians play alongside German Folk singers and smiling couples performing the Lindy Hop. If globalFEST is the leading showcase for international sounds, the Ninth Avenue Food Festival is the showcase for international tastes; a celebration of the magnificent cacophony of cultures and colors that is New York City.

For more eclectic going-ons in the Big Apple, click here.

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