The sweet and sour anticipation was reached this Sunday afternoon when the Lower East Side Pickle Day returned to cover Orchard Street in brine-soaked goodness. It featured the artist formerly known as cucumber and there were three blocks full of world-renowned picklers. The word pickle may be synonymous with cucumbers, but Pickle Day proved that almost anything can be eaten in spiced, briny form.
There were green balloons dotting the air and the weather was excellent.
People got to sample radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, cabbage, lettuce, fish, meat, carrots, beans, onions, eggs, turnips, limes, mangoes, peaches, beets, lemons, scallions, ginger, and even dark chocolate truffles. The main attraction though was the pickle in many forms and tastes.
In 17th-century New Amsterdam, Dutch colonists farmed cucumbers in Brooklyn, put them up in barrels of brine and sold them at Washington Market in Tribeca. But pickle paradise came to the teeming Lower East Side in the 19th century, when pushcarts and appetizing stores alike peddled pickles. For many new immigrants, pickles were a good way to make a living. With minimal equipment, vegetables could be fermented in a home kitchen and turned around in three weeks, plus pushcart rental was cheap. The neighborhood’s pickle heyday saw close to 100 pickle businesses, including cucumber wholesalers, salt shops and manufacturers of wooden barrels. But as families became upwardly mobile, those who could afford to leave the tenements did. With them went the pickles.
Few extra photos