I am a lucky man. I was picked up by the 82nd Street Partnership to help with a festival to celebrate the less-often celebrated Dunningham Triangle on 82nd Street. I have been wanting to work with this organization, part of New York City’s Business Improvement District program, for years. Only this year have they had someone in charge with vision, passion, and ability to make something incredible happen and be open to my ideas. Together, we seem to be on track to doing something amazing —
It has come to this: The Viva La Comida! Festival.
This Friday, September 21st, 4-9pm, Dunningham Triangle at 82nd Street and Baxter Avenue in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights.
It’s a total Queens event. We have such talented people who live in ths area, and we have culled together amazing music, dancing, food and stuff from 82nd Street businesses like Taqueria Coatzingo and Louie’s Pizzeria (you must get Louie’s grandma pie, it is the only 100 percent staple on my tour), and also kids stuff, lots of seating and tables, and a locals-only crafts market inside the Jackson Heights Cinemas. But my dream came in the form of the assembly of street vendors we have secured to come.
I have always wanted to do a festival with my favorite street vendors in the city. Incredibly, this is dream event. Right now, we have:
Tortas Neza – The King of the Mexican Sandwich. He is my favorite vendor in NYC and he was robbed of the Vendy Cup! Vindicate him and order his Torta Puma (only 2 people have eaten it, and I am one of them).
I want your pictures of you eating this sandwich. There is no prize, but I think the next 28 hours of not eating will be prize enough — although you may want to just feed your whole group with one.
Arepa Lady – Legend.
The Chipper Truck - Irish truck from waaaayyyy up there in the Bronx. They are only open from 1am-6am every day. It’s incredible that they are actually coming here!
Patacon Pisao – Washington Heights legends. Selling Venezuelan patacon and other food. They actually live in the area, so of course they were down to bring their new truck here.
Tacos La Familia (Roosevelt/Warren NE, after 9:30pm)- This is one of my favorite Mexican carts in the city. It is the homiest food I have eaten from the streets, and I’m so happy to call owners Victor and Laura my friends — even though we both can barely speak each other’s language.
El Coyote Dormilon (Roosevelt/92nd St S, after 9:30pm) – I’m so happy this crew is coming. Another family operation (I believe all of these are family operations), they are kings of quesadillas, but more than that they are such sweet and talented people. They deserve a ton of success and I hope they do well.
Morocho - Peruvian fusion – I am excited to see how the area takes to lomo saltado tacos! Owner Rafael is so nice and cool, it’s an honor to work with him.
There’s a million stories to this event. Like how a BID is opening up to street vendors, or how these street vendors who are coming are so talented, yet unappreciated by the city as a whole – it’s amazing because I did contact more popular ones, but they were all busy. People like the Arepa Lady and the Chipper Truck were so open to coming to this. All of these vendors need major catering gigs, and they will destroy the bland typical big graphic ones of the city.
I am even more proud that this festival is FREE to attend and all the vendors are making money. You just pay for what you want to buy. I’m happy lots of people are making money here and hopefully everyone goes home with a smile on their face. And if it’s a success, this format of a festival will probably magnify in the near future. YES.
Invite your friends on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/events/357936310952589/
We’re not sure what’s going to happen, other than being wild and fun. I’m very happy to be organizing in a community like this and I hope to see you there. When you see me there, grab my arm and tell me if you think it’s awesome.
AND THERE WILL BE MORE GUESTS TO COME, BUT I CANNOT SAY A WORD YET. STAY TUNED ON THE FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE.