A couple of weekends ago, as the weather thawed considerably, I finally made it to one of the best known outdoor food markets in the country - Smorgasburg. It has been running popular since 2011, and even extended its very Brooklyn roots to grace the neighboring county of Manhattan. For all that time, I had tried and failed to make a visit largely because I don't like crowds and mostly because I then lived in the less hip Manhattan borough. But, this year shall be hallowed since I made it in the second week of it's operation.
And, what a lovely visit it was! The market runs in different places on Saturday and Sunday. Despite not having visited the Williamsburg one, I am going to stipulate that the one in Brooklyn Heights on Sunday is the best one to be at. Simply because it is in a pier, by the water, a boardwalk and stunning vistas! What more can one possibly want as you leisurely walk about, grab food from different stalls and then mull over how content you are in the moment while overlooking the tall buildings of Downtown Manhattan where some poor souls in the corporate rate race are slaving their souls away in the hope of climbing ladders, or more likely, just making ends meet.
A very sobering yet cheering feeling indeed! To be out by the water, in the open, is sheer joy. Ever bite you take tastes fabulous because it smells, tastes and fills like freedom! :)
The stalls themselves are mostly local guys with stores in and around Brooklyn and many that are already familiar to most visitors of the market. Yet, there is a thrill in eating from pop-up stands, sitting on park benches under giant umbrellas with many more people who had nothing better to do that day! There are few tourists here. Any that are, basically, escaped from the island next door. Perhaps, they worked in not so tall buildings there?!
Whatever it is, there is a wonderful atmosphere of relaxation and slow food. The stalls offer up some really yummy stuff. Yes, the lines were long but I was in no hurry and somehow that made it all ok to be amongst the thronging crowds. Instead of feeling impatient (I had nowhere else to go, after all), I decided to people watch and capture the essence of what has become the new food culture in big cities.
From New York to San Francisco, the concept of alfresco food truck/stand markets has caught like wildfire. These casual food spots are serving up gourmet stuff in unpretentious packages making good food accessible for all relationship levels without the awkwardness of intimacy. Options range from craft coffees and doughnuts to messy, juicy sandwiches, fried yumminess, ice creams, fresh shucked oysters and oh, even a tasting menu a la cart (sans e)!!
The reason, I take photos of people here is, I find they are at their most genuine in places like this, where the choice of food, the mode of eating and the enjoyment of it are driven purely by choice and desire to please self than any illusions of decorum, image or such silly stuff - in other words, if I could capture the soul of folks around me, this would be one way to do it.
So, there is was that lovely Sunday afternoon, strolling about, shooting photos of food and mostly people and emotions, got myself a ice-cream and then chilled by the water with a book for a couple of hours. A thoroughly enjoyable and blissful afternoon!
Hope you enjoy the photos..