My Fruit Vendors are Gangsta’ – NYC
This is just a random story that I thought was amusing enough to share. Last week, I decided to stop by Grand Street to get some bananas on my way to the subway. As I was waiting to be helped at my favorite fruit stand (on the corner of Grand and Forsyth St), a guy walking by grabbed a longan, spun around, and started walking away backwards with the longan held before his lips, ready to pop it whole into his mouth. He obviously never had a longan before. If you don’t know, longans are not like grapes. Similar to lychees, you have to peel the shell in order to eat the sweet springy flesh inside. And although the peel is not extremely hard, it is definitely not edible. I would say the shell is similar to the bark of a young sapling.
Now this was funny enough, but then one of guys at the fruit stand, quite simply, grabbed the longan out of his hand, and threw it back into the fruit bin, all the while shouting, “No free tasting!” The woman about to help me with the bananas also chimed in, “No free tasting!” The “longan thief” then proceeded to walk away cursing. I found this scene hilarious, the stupid thief trying to eat the longan, shell and all, and the vendors’ “matter-of-fact, get out of my face” attitude. On the way to work afterwards, I kept thinking, ‘Damn, my fruit vendors are gangsta.’ I guess you have to be tough if you work outside all day.
Speaking of which, if you haven’t watched the Al Jazeera video on New York street food that Sarah DiGregori at Fork in the Road blogged about last week, watch it.
Although it’s a bit sappy at the end, it provides very good insight on the problems a lot of street vendors face every day. In the video, you learn, surprise, surprise, their biggest enemy is the NYPD. Why the police have to harass these hard-working people is beyond me. It seems they should have better things to do, like perhaps fight crime? I guess it wouldn’t be as lucrative though. If anybody would like to learn more about this problem, The Street Vendor Project is a good source of information. Also, don’t forget the Vendy Awards are coming up soon. Don’t forget to nominate your favorite vendor! Think of it as a warm-up to that other big contest in November.