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May 23, 2011 12:23 PM

Food carts and street food festivals

We're from Toronto and will be in NYC next month, and are looking to visit some amazing food carts or street vendors/markets that occur during the warmer months. Is Hestor Street fair or the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market worthwhile? We've been to the Halal cart at 53rd and 6th. Thanks in advance.

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  1. When, exactly, will you be here? If you're here before June 3, I highly recommend Madison Square Eats:

    Past that, Hester Street Fair is very good, as is the Brooklyn Flea, which has just recently launched Smorgasburg. Sounds like something you'd be interested in:

    Hester Street Fair
    Essex St Hester St, New York, NY 10002

    Madison Square Eats
    5th Ave E 26th St, New York, NY 10010

    1 Reply
    1. re: loratliff

      2nd Madison Square Eats and Hester St Faire with the caveat that Hester Street is a mix of food and other things on Saturdays, and all-food on Sundays. Check the schedule beforehand.

      Smorgasbord sounds very cool but it's Saturdays only and my friends who went said the lines were very long. Of course this was opening day, and the weather was nice.

      NB: Bad weather can mean that a certain market will be less crowded!

      Madison Square Eats, Hester Street Fair, and Smorgasburg are all MUCH more gourmet than the 53rd and 6th St Halal Carts. With higher prices to match, typically, but a lot of the vendors are small businesses using really high quality ingredients.

      Madison Square Eats
      5th Ave E 26th St, New York, NY 10010

    2. has a twitter tracker to help you find all the carts and trucks in the city. Red Hook also has some good trucks on the weekends.

      1. In the past, when the Hells Kitchen flea market has had food trucks, they have had very long lines at the more popular trucks (such as Kelvin Slush). They now have food trucks once a month (2nd Sunday of each month), so the lines may decrease over time. However, in general, the flea market is very busy and may not be the best spot to check out any one truck. I would look at the list the particular week you'd be here and see if you're interested.
        Madison Square is a great option if it fits with your schedule.
        Central Park also has trucks scattered within it if you are planning to go there anyway; they generally have 4 trucks including VanLeeuwen Ice Cream at the former Tavern on the Green location, and an excellent outpost of the Wafels and Dinges truck is generally at the southeast corner.
        GoodGravy's recs for midtown lunch and red hook are also very good options. Red Hook is fantastic if you like Latin American food; every possible country/cuisine is represented well.

        3 Replies
          1. re: orthorunner

            Thanks so much for the info so far, we'll be in NYC towards the latter half of June.

            1. re: tripaddict28

              Hey Tripaddict28,

              How did the trip go ? I'll be in Manhattan September 26th - 30th and would love to try some good street / truck finds (something sadly missing in Toronto).