I really enjoy street food. Talking to the vendor making my food is also part of the street food experience. When buying street food, I have been struck by the color and designs of the street food trucks and stands and the variety of people both preparing the food and eating it. Street food has been a part of New York for centuries. It has evolved from carts selling fresh fruits and vegetables in the 1700s to cooked oysters when New York harbor and the Hudson River teemed with oysters in the early 1800s. German Immigrants brought hot dogs and pretzels to New York at the end of the 1800s. Today there is a huge variety of freshly prepared foods of many nationalities available from the carts and trucks on the streets. The recipes come from all over the world, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Central and South America. Alexandra Penfold and Siobhan Wallace describe the food and a bit about the people who make the food in their book, New York a la Cart. My interest has been in the vendors whose artistic expressions decorate their trucks with colors and designs that advertise their wares. The carts are illuminated at night to catch the eyes of passers-by. There is even an annual contest for the best food from the various street food vendors, the Vendy awards http://streetvendor.org/vendys/).
Over the centuries, street food has evolved into an institution in many cities and especially in New York. The food and people vary with the neighborhood and time of day. My photographs, Street Food, are a part of my overall project, Street Trades, and show the trucks, stands, and carts as well as some of the people who supply and eat street food in New York both day and night.