As the autumn coolness settles in, mangoes and refreshing fruit juices are out for street vendors, giving way to warm tamales, coffee and churros, El Diario La Prensa reports. The story was translated from Spanish.
With summer fading away, street vendors are not only digging out sweaters from the closet for autumn, but also familiar recipes for hot foods that will replace the fresh fruit and cold juices.
Delfino Díaz, a 49-year-old street vendor from East Harlem in Manhattan, said that staring in mid-October he stops selling ice cream and switches to tamales and hot beverages to earn some extra bucks to make it through winter.
Díaz, who has been working as a street vendor for more than a decade, lamented that summer “is flying by” and that sales are lower in winter. “It’s very hard to sell food when it’s cold and snowing; people don’t go out, and you barely earn enough to put food on the table.”
Getting by however they can
Díaz said that in the past he has worked in construction and has skills in plumbing, electrical wiring, and carpentry, but over the last few years it has been a challenge to find a stable job. “There are some days during the winter when I stop selling and work as a day laborer to earn a little extra money. Sometimes it’s better than waiting hours for a customer.”
Hortensia Soria, 52, has more than 22 years of experience selling fresh fruit and fruit juices on 116th St. and Lexington Avenue. With colder days approaching, Soria has started to sell hot soup and coffee.
“Street vendors should take advantage of the few nice days remaining, because later on the cold will chill you to the bone and then you can’t sell anything.”
Nicolás Tapia, a street vendor who sells mangoes in Fordham in the Bronx, said that his produce continues to sell throughout October. After that, many vendors fall on hard times. “Some of my fellow street vendors sell churros. That’s the most common thing when summer ends.”
Although many merchants aren’t pleased by the arrival of autumn, for some Latino workers who make a living by baking, the season provides a good source of income.
Manuel Ramírez, who works at a deli, said that with the change in temperature, customers purchase more bread, breakfast items, and warm beverages. “Many people want a warm place where they can eat comfortably. More customers come to the deli and you have a higher chance of working extra hours.”