09 April 2017

How Many Bananas?

Last week, while out for a ride, I stopped at a Halal cart for a falafel.  It got me to thinking about how much the definition of "street food" has changed here in New York.  

In addition to falafel, hummus and those tasty chicken-and rice or lamb-and-rice dishes the Middle Eastern street cooks/vendors offer, it's possible to buy tacos, pizza, curries, waffles, sushi, various kinds of sandwiches, fried chicken, lobster rolls, crepes, salads, meat-on-a-stick and cupcakes as well as familiar fare like ice cream and almost anything based on coffee or tea from various trucks and carts all over the city.

It wasn't so long ago that "street food" in the Big Apple meant "dirty water" hot dogs (with mustard and barbecued onions), knishes and pretzels that were baked dry, then burnt on the hot plates the vendors used to warm them up.

Ruminating about such urban delicacies (as if I don't have better uses for my brain cells!) led me to recall the days when "energy bars" hadn't been invented.  Back then, we carried "trail mix" or other combinations of dried fruits, nuts (and, for some of us, chocolate) as well as other fruits--especially bananas.

In fact, when I was co-editing a club newsletter, we had a five-banana rating system for rides.  The most difficult rides, of course, got five while the easiest rides were marked with only one.

That system would have been entirely useless had someone shown up to ride in this:

From Extreme Mobility


  1. Don't know about nowadays, but when i was last in NYC in the 80's, the best hot dogs (frankfurters in NYC, IIRC) were to be had from the street vendors and on the Staten Island Ferry (there were decent blintzes on the ferry as well.) i knew not to look too closely at the cleanliness of any particular cart! The one thing i do envy NYC for is the number of outstanding delis. Although it's easy to find a good hot dog around Chicagoland, there is a paucity of decent delis.

    i am about the only rider i know who abhors bananas! Great rating system, though.

    1. I've never been a big one for bananas either. In the old "old days" it was GORP. Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. Of course we threw in other stuff too if we had it. Dried apricots were said to be good at preventing cramps. I was never bad about getting cramps so I can't say if thats really so.

  2. Mike--While there are still a lot of good delis, there aren't as many as there were years ago. There are a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which is skyrocketing rents.

    Phillip--I, too, never had trouble with cramps, But I would sometimes add dried apricots to my GORP just because I like them!