Day Life on the Lower East Side

Entertainment, food and shopping on Orchard Street on a Sunday is quite normal. But today there was a street festival to do it all a little bit easier by bringing it together right on the street. It was not just a neighborhood event like yesterday’s Waterfront Street Festival in Carroll Gardens but a goto thing. I went as well.

Getting to the Lower East Side from here is easy. The F train that has a stop around the corner takes me right to Delancey Street. The part of Orchard Street that on normal Sundays is a shopping mall today was a market. Lots of local restaurants offered their food from stalls on the street. Music at Tammany Hall provided the atmosphere and in addition to the wares from the stores on Orchard Street local artist offered their products. It was busy and lively. Female New Yorkers used the hot Sunday to wear their summer shorts together with their winter boots. Who knows how many are still to come.
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I had spicy meatballs with polenta – from the Meatball Shop that probably inspired Lily Brett – for lunch and the maybe last ice cream sandwich for dessert. Red velvet with cream cheese ice cream. The meatballs were awesome, the ice cream sandwich simply good.
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Another kind of daily life I got to see in the Tenement Museum. I saw their documentary about the tenement building and joined the “Sweatshop Workers” tour. It shows two apartments in the tenement buildings like they were in use at different times. The Levine family lived there in the 1890s and had a garment workshop right in their living room, employing three workers. There was no water, no gas and no toilet in the apartment at that time. About 15 years later the Rogarshevsky family moved into the building into a similar one bedroom apartment with 6 kids. Now there was water and gas however and on every floor there were two toilets. As well an airshaft had been installed and gave the bedrooms a little bit of light. Two daughters of the family worked in a garment factory.
We had a woman on the tour, in her fifties, I guess, who looked like somewhat between hippie and gothic. She was extremely puzzled how people could live in these conditions.

Before I traveled home I had a look at the famous Essex Market. It is a market hall with individual shops and stalls inside. There is a cheesemonger, a fish place and a grocery store with a lot of Hispanic food, like Dominican cheese, to mention just a few.

The F train was not in the mood to stop at Bergen Street – don’t know why. I had to get off at Jay Street – Metrotech and walk from there. But I needed to shop for dinner anyway. I had found an avocado squash again, at the Greenmarket this morning, and planned to use it for a risotto. So I needed rice and parmesan cheese. I supposed I would get both at Trader Joe’s. But the line there started at the entrance and wrapped around the shop. I was not in the mood for that. So I headed to the supermarket on Smith Street. Surprisingly I got both ingredients there.
The avocado squash is similar to courgettes, just has another shape. I shared the Risotto with Priya. Astor was very offended that he didn’t get a share as well.

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