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Some Queens Residents Turn to Street Vending as Borough Recovers From the Pandemic

Plus, the Uptown Night Market returns to West Harlem this week — and more intel

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A gloved hand reaches into a steaming stainless steel pot of tamales, which are still wrapped in their husks Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images

As Queens emerges from the pandemic, some residents turn to street vending

Some residents in Queens, having lost their jobs or small businesses during the pandemic, are now working as food vendors in the borough, the New York Times reports. In certain neighborhoods, there’s cause for optimism: Restaurants along Roosevelt Avenue continue to reopen their dining rooms and utilize newly built outdoor setups. According to the Times, more businesses opened last year than in 2019 in a handful of Queens zip codes.

Yet, in many others, residents face an ongoing hunger crisis and months of unpaid rent. Some have turned to selling food on the streets. Jenny Escobar, a former babysitter and an immigrant from Colombia, is one of a handful of new food vendors in the neighborhood. She sells two dollar, homemade ice pops at 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, with the hope of paying back rent to her landlord, according to the Times.

Roughly a year ago, as New York City became the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, some of its earliest and hardest-hit neighborhoods were found in north-central Queens, according to the Times. At a time when some New Yorkers were decamping to the Hamptons, Long Island, and the suburbs, many immigrants living in Woodside, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, and surrounding Queens neighborhoods stayed behind, continuing to work what jobs were available.

In other news

— From the team behind the Bronx Night Market comes the Uptown Night Market, a new late-night food and entertainment series set to debut in West Harlem this week. The event opens with live music and roughly 40 local vendors on Thursday, July 8, and will operate on the second Thursday of the month until November.

is headed to West Harlem this week. a spokespers Uptown Night Market is headed to 12th Avenue and West 133rd Street in West Harlem, a spokesperson for the event tells Eater. The late-night food and entertainment series opens with live music and more than 40 vendors on July 8 and will operate every Thursday thereafter through November.

— Sami and Susu, a roaming Mediterranean restaurant that opened during the pandemic, is eyeing the former storefront of Lower East Side ice cream shop New Territories. The restaurant will be located at 120 Orchard Street, near Delancey Street.

— Joey Chestnut beat his own record at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest this year, consuming 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. PETA, who historically protests the event, distributed free vegan hot dogs from Nathan’s instead.

— Grub Street is the latest to review Gage and Tollner, the historic downtown Brooklyn restaurant that reopened in April.

— Reservations booked weeks in advance at high-end restaurants are back in full swing.

— How the government’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund went so wrong.

— Please enjoy this bite-sized taqueria in Inwood: