The 82nd Street Partnership is thrilled to present its 6th annual food and music festival, Viva la Comida! With some of NYC’s best street food vendors and local restaurants showcasing the variety of delicious ethnic foods found in Queens and throughout the city, plus a full slate of eclectic live music representing New York, Latin American, and Afro-Caribbean roots, Viva la Comida is a celebration of diversity and culture that you don’t want to miss. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm along 82nd Street, between Roosevelt and Baxter Avenues.
““During Viva la Comida our communities come together to honor diversity and unity through the sharing of food, music and art,”,” said Leslie A. Ramos, Executive Director of the 82nd Street Partnership. “Over the last couple of years, the festival has evolved to become a platform for local artists and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents regardless of ethnic or cultural background.”
Taste distinctive street flavors
This year’s participants will be serving up traditional foods representing 13 countries from South and North America, the Caribbean, and Asia. The festival will be anchored by several Vendy Award Winners and long-term street food vendors, such as Jackson Heights’ favorite Arepa Lady; Red Hook, Brooklyn heavy weight Solber Pupusas; Woodhaven Blvd gem D’Angelo’s Italian Sausage Truck; and Vegan Cup winner Mysttik Masala. Returning festival favorites include: Mama Food, who will serve her delicious Xinjiang-style grilled squid and lamb skewers; Ricas Botanas, serving freshly made churros and other Mexican treats; and Oscar’s Chuzos & Corn, a mainstay of Roosevelt Avenue. This year’s new comers include: Mom’s Momo (Himalayan momos), Chef Troy (Jamaican Jerk chicken and fish), Chiflez (Peruvian & Ecuadorian), Mi Pequeño coffee Shop (Ecudorian-style roasted tripe and bake goods) and Kopi Kopi (Indonesian Ramen, shrimp buns & spring rolls).
Local restaurants serving a broader range of Ecuadorian, Mexican, and Colombian plates will also be present. Festival new comer Delicias Colombianas will have morsichas (blood sausages) and the traditional Bandeja Paisa. Sabor Ecuatoriano will offer traditional Yaguarlocro, a dish cooked with lamb tripe from the Andean region of Ambato in Ecuador. Casa Rivera, an old-style butcher, market and restaurant, serves traditional South America foods and treats—this market has an exceptional variety of hard-to-find Latin American products, including Cui. Tulcingo Bakery & Restaurant will offer a variety of typical Mexican dishes while Mama Empanada has 54 different types of corn and wheat empanadas.
Move your feet to eclectic live music
The festival’s diversity will be on full display at the stage with a sparkling set of bands presenting music with diverse roots. Mixing sounds from jazz and swing to Afro-Cuban Salsa and Cumbia, performers bring a mixture of sounds unique to NYC.
Los Hacheros, a wildly popular up-and-coming band from NYC, will be the headliners this year. Their musical and cultural roots produce a sound that is steeped in Afro-Cuban salsa, Puerto Rican Bomba, and jazz. It is said that the band of 5 often sounds more like 12, and their shows are as lively as their sound. NPR Music said, “What The Dap-Kings are to vintage soul, Los Hacheros are to the golden era of Latin music.”
Gracing our stage will be New York jazz legend Ed Polcer and his son Ben with The Ed and Ben Polcer Swingtet. Polcer has been playing and teaching cornet in NYC and around the world for over 50 years, including spending time in Benny Goodman’s band. Ben Polcer is himself an accomplished trumpeter and pianist out of New Orleans.
Gregorio Uribe will perform with Argentinian vocalist Solange Prat. Uribe is a renowned Colombian accordionist and bandleader who leads the Gregorio Uribe Big Band and has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Solange Prat is a significant voice in the Latin underground scene, and her flare for everything jazz, blues, soul and contemporary has led her to be the frontwoman for the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra.
Also performing is CHIA’s Dance Party, a NYC-based Quintet whose name says it all. Danceable grooves mix harmoniously with extensive compositional and improvisational work to create Chia’s infectious vibe. The band performs original material inspired by the Colombian
rhythmic and melodic traditions, yet explores different genres and compositional approaches.
Celebrate visual arts and literature
Centro Cultural Barco de Papel and Intercultural Cartonera will present a literature garden, where participants can build their own cardboard book or collaborate on a community book sculpture, and explore books from Latin-American writers and artists. While at Dunningham Triangle Park local artists will display their work of arts.
There will also be plenty of art activities for children. Local puppeteer Paul VanDeCarr of Firefly will present a story with puppets and teach children how to make own paper-bag puppet. Artist Melissa Villalobos will offer henna-tattoos and her own one-of-a-kind, personalized cartoon work.