It's glorious to be back in NYC--there's always something going on. I once walked in on a parade and have probably photo-bombed more people than I can count (sorry-not-sorry?), but my favorite surprises are those involving food. Enter Essex Street Market.

Hailey Tom

I've seen the Market a few times when coming off the Williamsburg Bridge, but hadn't really given them too much attention until I saw they were celebrating their birthday, and there would be food. No shame in showing up to a party for the food only. Unless it's your grandmother's birthday, or something.

Don't be too much of a douche.

"So like, where's the party?"

chicken, beer, pizza
Hailey Tom

Finding it wasn't hard, with all the signs on Essex Street pointing in the designated direction. With the music, and people walking around with coconut drinks and street food. As I got closer, the smells and sounds enriched, and I saw the stands and chairs all set up for the celebration. Time to get down to business.

First Mission: Food

date, coffee, tea, beer
Hailey Tom

There were a bunch of vendors, everything from sushi to corn on the cob to entire loaves of bread--I had no idea where to start. But one stand--which, oddly enough, didn't have a line--caught my eye with its bright green tablecloth. Pineapples, did you say?

So, if I eat something healthy now...

Hailey Tom

Well, if we're being honest, pineapples are delicious, but I figured I could balance out whatever sinful monstrosity I consumed later with a bit of fruit. I was in for more than I had anticipated.

pineapple, ice cream, cocktail, cream, ice
Hailey Tom

It was simple enough at first--your basic pineapple juice drink--but, wait, are those apples? More fruit? Cherries? This stand really outdid themselves, I have to say. I also had tons of weird looks as I strolled about the rest of Manhattan with a giant pineapple in hand.

No shame, I am the picture of health.

Inside the Market

coffee, beer
Hailey Tom

So eventually I decided to wander inside the actual market, which functions as a grocery with a bunch of smaller kiosks--think market-inception. There's even a barber, but we made eye-contact just after I noticed the "No Photos" sign in his window. 

Needless to say, I slowly lowered my phone and turned away in shame.

Hailey Tom

I lost myself among the aisles and aisles of food. How did I not know about this place before?! It had everything from cheese stores to tiny bakeries to butcheries--all in one adorable labyrinth of a place. The walls were covered in recipes and local art--this was truly a place for and by the community.

Oh, and did I mention the produce?

garlic, pasture, pepper, vegetable
Hailey Tom

Fresh and full of variety. 'Nuff said.

A Snack for the Road

sweet, pastry, bread
Hailey Tom

I was about to head home after a long day of wandering, but I figured I'd grab something else. Ya know, for my parents or my sister, not me. So I found a stand of fried rice balls by the Arancini Bros. The guy--or should I say, bro--at the stand was super nice and gave me this egg carton of crunchy goodness.

cupcake, chocolate
Hailey Tom

They were so, so good, and you can pick them up at Essex Market whenever you want. Most of the vendors could be found in the Market, and I for one will be returning ASAP to check them out.

The People's Market

Essex Market has served the community for over 70 years. It aims to bring back the close interaction between merchants and customers, bringing the people in direct contact with those who provide the ingredients for healthy, wholesome meals. It's a valuable asset to New York City, and I'm glad it's sticking around.

Also, you can get your hair cut there too, so, ya know, there's something for everyone.