The Lower East Side has more to offer than just lots and lots of alcohol. Instead of limiting yourself to nighttime excursions, head there during the day to sample hand-crafted macarons and spicy popsicles, plus peruse some vintage wares and locally-made crafts, at the Hester Street Fair.
The Hester Street fair is deceptively small. With only a hundred yards of grounds, you would think you would get bored quickly. And yeah, you might if you like to speed shop and you aren’t hungry. But during my visit, my friend and I spent nearly an hour as we hopped from booth to booth, gossiping with the vendors, asking them about their foods and crafts, and nibbling on the tasties.
The There was the Macaron Parlour with Simon Tung manning the table. We’re lucky we didn’t come Friday, because the shop had sold out, riding on a wave of customers after a mention in the Daily Candy. But today, he had lots of flavors. I tried the lemon macaron, which seems silly in hindsight, with flavors like candied bacon with maple cream cheese, thai chili, and earl grey available. I mean, I’m not saying was disappointed with my choice. I bit into the flaky crust which melted away to reveal the ganache filling–tart and tasty. “This is better than Laduree!” I declared. He practically blushed. “No way, that isn’t true. Though Christina [Christina Ha, his business partner] did study under Pierre Herme in Paris.”
Vicki ordered the cinnamon pistachio with morello cherries, which I nibbled on as well. Not bad!
Moving on to the next yummy thing, I had a iced lychee white tea, then a delicious, fish-shaped waffle with sweet red bean in the center. I felt bad for the pair manning the griddle, in the 90 degree heat though. Luckily nearby there was a tent whose sole purpose was to cover visitors with a cool mist.
Vicki and I perused some vintage jewelry and dishes, marveling at an old butter churn and examining old postcards.
I passed by Laura Fisk’s table and fell in love with her printed cotton accessories. There were classy cobalt blue napkins with ruby pomegranates. “If I had a real house with more than two seats at a table, I would get those,” I told Vicki. Instead I opted for a pretty little apron with an adjustable neck, and cupcakes on the front. I was giddy when Laura yanked on the strings and the apron slid up. “We short people always have to fold up aprons,” she said. She also had a children’s book, stationary, and some children’s-sized aprons printed with non-toxic inks as well. You can see her stuff at fiskandfern.com.
Next to Holstee was a table displaying some select stuff from Sustainable NYC: adorable fold-up reusable bags, Toms shoes, soy candles, and upcycled purses. I did not even know this place existed, but now I feel like I have to go there! It’s at Avenue A and 9th Street.
At this point we hurried away from the fair to beat the rain. As fat raindrops spattered the sidewalk, I took one last picture of the bike valet and Vicki and I promised each other we would come back to try everything else. What we didn’t get to sample: the ice cream sandwiches, sassily flavored popsicles, and barbecue. Not to mention the adorable yoga bags I forgot to go back for. Another day, another time…