Summer is definitely over. The dreary gray skies, ho-hum rain and chilly air leave no doubt.
But Friday and Saturday we were granted one last golden-hued reprieve from the inevitable, as all over the city New Yorkers snuck out of their offices to dubiously sniff the fresh air, crowded onto rooftops to dance and drink, and wandered through food festivals.
Well, at least, that was my weekend. As I took in the New York skyline from a Williamsburg rooftop, tasted Brooklyn-made food and bounced to a DJ while chatting with an architect/designer/art therapist from Porto Rico/Russia/France that I thought, “If I ever leave New York, I will be truly depressed.” The confluence of cultures, ideas and truly unique (I mean that in the literal sense–like there is nothing else to rival it) ways to have fun makes for glittering nights and sensory-rich days, where there’s always something new and fresh right around the corner, if only you have the energy and curiosity to keep going.
A big component of the weekend was the Smorgasburg food festival. It’s been around for since last summer, but I had never made it out there before. Odd, right? Fortunately for me and my roommate E, it’s not just a summer thing. It continues every Saturday, rain or shine, until November 18.
Friends of mine are obsessed with this song, combination of infectious beat and great lyrics that everyone can sing along to. It’s all cocktail party chatter until this hits, and everyone sprints to the dance floor. Give it a minute to drop into the good part.
Smorgasburg is quintessential New York: a smash of cultures, crawling with people from all over the world in every type of dress, good music laid over top, with interpretations and reinventions of classic food, the Williamsburg bridge and Empire State building within eyeshot.
Try arepas that look nothing like an arepas you would find in South America: quinoa flour flat bread piled with organic italian chorizo. Or chili lime mini cupcakes. Vegan salted corn ice cream. (That was a bust. But I tried it.) Jasmine green kombucha tea. Gourmet grilled cheese. Seriously, whatever you want, jazzed up and remixed into something interesting and–most of the time–better than you’ve ever had.
I suggest making room for it in your busy weekend schedule at least twice. Because, with more than 75 vendors, there are way too many good food options and not enough space in your stomach, even if you fasted all morning in preparation like I did. It also makes for fabulous people watching.
You like food and cute animal photos? Good. Here’s some for you:
Smorgasbar is a special area set up just for drinking local beers, Brooklyn wine and cocktails from Brooklyn-distilled liquor.
Cute dogs were everywhere.
Don’t ask me why you would put a dog in a stroller …
Or why you would bring your cat. “Kitty just loves artisinal pickles!”
This salted corn vegan ice cream topped with spiced popcorn was as disgusting as it sounds. Good thing Smorgasburg has composting bins. I felt not quite as guilty when I tossed it. In retrospect, I should have gone with the dark chocolate chai flavor.
Good beats are a must for any Williamsburg event.
If you really want to try as many different things as possible, share everything amongst friends.
Oysters served with ish horseradish–the best horseradish I’ve EVER tasted.
I just loved this guy’s look. “Casual dapper” plus “Totally dateable.”
There’s plenty of organic, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for the healthy/picky set Brooklyn is known for.
Chili lime cupcakes to the left, and caramel chai flavor in the center.
While some places–like Anarchy in a Jar–accept credit cards, you should definitely bring cash.
That may look like beer, but it’s actually mint kombucha tea.
Would you eat beef jerky if you knew it was made in Brooklyn? If so, there was (count ‘em) two jerkey purveyors there.
Columbian refreshments at the arepas shack.
You don’t normally see someone dressed so nicely in Brooklyn, but she’s rocking that red blazer.
Wooden utensils, paper plates and compostable cups made it even greener.
As vendors started to disassemble their tents and the temperature dropped, we wandered to east Williamsburg and stopped by a friend’s roof, where I took this sunset picture featuring the Freedom Tower.