Getting Caught in a Pickle in NYC

Singaporean girl’s first time in New York City. What could go wrong?  

66 degrees, Sunday afternoon. New York City was blanketed in a soft screen of lull, her air crisp but yet still buzzing with the rippling effects of the annual Global Citizens Festival that happened just the day before. My friends and I decided to head into the city for the weekend, not because of THE concert of the year (Rihanna was there and a little birdy told me her performance was absolute top-notch), but because of this:

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In picture: My very kind and obliging friends, Nienke and Annie

Okay fine. So I was the only one really interested in the event but come on- when else would a Singaporean girl get the chance to experience an authentic American festival happening right in the heart of the Big Apple?

The Lower East Side Pickle Day is an annual event, and fell on the 25th and 26th of September this year, from 12pm- 5pm. As most of our Saturday was spent with Annie’s family who graciously hosted (and fed) us for the weekend, we decided to go for the festival on Sunday instead. I found out about the event as I was trawling on Facebook for things to do in NYC, and luckily for me, their event page popped up.

Getting there was pretty easy as New York’s Annie’s home turf, and even though we got distracted on the train and took one stop too far, we managed to get to Orchard Street after a short ten-minute walk.

 

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Guess what we saw on our way there? A filming notice for The Blacklist!

Even though the LESPickleDay committee posted a “Show me the way to Pickle Day!” video, I unfortunately didn’t see it until after the day of the event as they only posted it on the website, and not the event page which I referred to as my primary source of information. It really was quite a pity, as the video was not only informative and clear, but also pretty hilarious!

Upon arrival, we saw that the entire street was indeed transformed into a pickle bazaar filled with vendors offering both pickled and non-pickled treats, as promised on the website.

 

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So. Many. People!

There were throngs and throngs of people, most of whom were congregating around specific stores. After a curious look-see, we found out that the longest lines originated from stalls that were offering free pickles. And naturally, as broke college students…


Other than normal pickles, there were also pickle-flavored foods- Pickle Spring Rolls, Pickle Onigiri, Pickle Popcorn and last but not least- Brine shots(?!)


There were also giant games and fun activities all around like pickle pull-ups, which made the event an even more family-friendly one.


After walking for about 15 minutes however, we realized that we were still no where close to the end of the bazaar. The lines of stalls just seemed to go on and on. Two other maps that were eerily similar to the the first map that we saw (that we naturally assumed to be the map of the entire bazaar) popped up every time we thought we reached the finish line. As much as I loved being at the bazaar, the idea of being trapped in a pickle world was a scary one, so it would definitely benefit both the organizers and attendees alike if the maps were uploaded onto the various social media platforms before the day itself!

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Three streets are alive, with the smell ~PiCkl3s~

So at this point, you must be thinking that my title was an obvious click bait but I assure you that my greed for all things free landed me in a pitiable state that day.

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Unidentified pepper: Said free thing that led me to my ultimate demise.

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Call it karma, call it payback. Whichever way you see it, it hurt. So bad. In the beginning of my downfall I merely shed a few tears, and maybe a tad of my dignity because I’ve always prided myself in being to handle almost all kinds of spice. However later in the day on our way out of downtown Manhattan, the slight tugging sensation I had pushed to the back of my mind after leaving the bazaar grounds turned into a full fledge internal-stomach-squeeze sensation that had me doubling over in my subway seat. If you’re looking for some sort of visual documentation, I’m sorry but there isn’t any because I’m pretty sure I was on the literal verge of death.

But bad tummy aches aside, my first ever experience at an American festival has been a great one! Even though I’ve never been a big fan of pickles, this experience showed me that it definitely is more than just a salty vegetable. The bazaar was an eye-opener with an amazing an countless vendors and pickles of every imaginable variety available.

Alas since this is only a yearly affair, you’ll have to wait till next year to attend Pickle Day 2017. However, if you’re really interested, go ahead and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep yourselves in the loop!

Do you know of any other similar niche festivals (or anything else, really) in the US happening from now all the way through January next year? If you do, comment and let me know! Since I’m only a semester exchange student, I’ll attempt to do my utmost to conquer them all (with caution, that is).

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Till next time! 🙂

 

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