My favorite holiday is in September, and is, in my opinion, extremely under-appreciated. I know I often go on about my odd fascination with Christmas and its accompanying carols, but seriously this holiday is so much better. It knows no religious, ethnic, or gender discrimination. Instead it allows us, specifically New Yorkers, to bond over a common love : pickles . And I don’t know about you, but if the city sets aside one day each September as a day that glorifies this precious vegetable, the subject of so many science fair projects–next to the erupting volcano, of course–I’m so there.
Perhaps I should set the scene of the pickle festival for all those who haven’t yet given in to my excitement. The Pickle Festival sets up shop on historic pickle grounds, the Lower East Side streets that were once filled with Eastern-Europeans trying to make their way in the land of opportunity by carting around these tasty, and extremely cheap vegetables. Now, the immigrant pickle peddlers have been replaced by hipsters and Wall Street suits, their carts by glitzy boutiques and Zagat-recommended restaurants. The once competitive pickle industry is left with a sad number of contenders, the only remaining “top guns” being “The Pickle Guys” and “Guss’ Pickles.”
But back to happier matters. On this one day, the pickles we do have are out and proud. And they want you to eat them! Manhattan’s delicatessens fill the tents on two blocks of Orchard Street, handing out free samples of this crunchy little treat. There’s also kimchi, but I stick to the pickles, and the pickle paraphernalia. The pickle has carved its own place in fashion, with bright t-shirts whose dancing, cartoon-like pickles say “la la la la la.” Adorable dancing and singing pickles? If I can support the Lower East Side by buying a triple-threat pickle tee, I’m gonna do it, or at least Sylvie is. She now owns three.
Pickle Fest 2K8. September 14th. Let’s make magic happen over a half-sour.