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Five Boroughs Food Talk: Street Food
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.




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+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 04/07/2015 at Symphony Space.

So much of our city-dweller lives take place in shared spaces, including our meals! Street food is part of our urban landscape, whether it's grabbing a hot dog outside the park or seeking out the hottest food trucks. Join host Gabriella Gershenson as she takes food talk to the streets with panelists including: Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director, Red Hook Food Vendors, Vendy Plaza Manager; Matthew Shapiro, Staff Attorney, Street Vendor Project; Suzanne Wasserman, Director, Gotham Center for New York City History; and Doug Quint, co-owner of Big Gay Ice Cream.

Gabriella Gershenson is the food features editor at Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine. She was formerly senior editor at Saveur, and prior to that, edited the dining section at Time Out New York magazine. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and many other publications. She's been a regular guest on WOR's Food Talk with Mike Colameco and NYC TV's Eat Out New York with Kelly Choi, and appeared on the Food Network shows 24 Hour Restaurant Battle and The Best Thing I Ever Ate.

+ About the Artists

GABRIELLA GERSHENSON is the food features editor at Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine. She was formerly senior editor at Saveur, and prior to that, edited the dining section at Time Out New York magazine. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and many other publications. She has been a regular guest on WOR’s Food Talk with Mike Colameco and NYC TV’s Eat Out New York with Kelly Choi, and appeared on the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She lives in New York City.

CESAR FUENTES has over 15 years of experience building, managing, and executing the award-winning Red Hook Food Vendors marketplace, home of 4 Vendy Cup winners in the last 6 years. Cesar’s work with the RHFV marketplace earned it the prestigious Placemaking Award from the Department of Small Business Services & the NYC Mayor’s Office in 2010, which honors a business for increasing the visibility and identity of a neighborhood. Cesar has also been a consultant on multiple food projects across the city, including early development of the Brooklyn Flea (2007), MakerFaire food concessions (2010), and NYC Parks Dept. Celebration of the 50th & 75th Anniversary of the World’s Fair (2014). He was the recipient of the Frank C. Spinner Award in 2012 for Public Service, and was recently recognized as one of the top food influencers by Brooklyn Magazine in 2014. Most importantly, Cesar has an intimate understanding of what it is like to be a food vendor and has a stakeholder perspective, being the son of a street vendor and beginning his career as a food vendor himself.

DOUGLAS QUINT spent his first sixteen years locked in his bedroom reading comic books. He was born and raised in Central Maine, in a town named Pittsfield. Pittsfield is infamous for two things: The Egg Festival and the Quint family. Seriously. Escape was imminent. At age 17 Doug sacked high school, grabbed some Chap Stick, and took off for New York City.

The next twenty-something years of Doug’s life were spent shackled to a desk making thousands of bassoon reeds. True, he wandered the halls of Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School—eventually earning degrees from both joints and learning a bunch from Frank Morelli—but the scars from all that reed-shaving are the most lasting impression. After graduating from Juilliard with his Master’s Degree in bassoon performance he ran around the world tooting his own horn with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and other such little bands. He also worked as the orchestra manager at Juilliard until the day before he was fired (saw it coming).

One day in early 2009 a very queer thing happened: a Big Gay Ice Cream Truck appeared. Doug and Bryan Petroff jumped on board, and turned their weird notion into one of the most successful dessert businesses around. Big Gay Ice Cream has two shops in New York City and are poised to open in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. He has co-authored Big Gay Ice Cream Book (to be published by Random House on April 28, 2015- pre- order now because you believe), cooked on television with Paula Deen, and Doug has been repeatedly beaten up by Mrs. Anthony Bourdain. All in a day’s work.

MATTHEW SHAPIRO is a staff attorney at the Street Vendor Project (SVP) of the Urban Justice Center where he provides legal services to street vendor members of SVP. He grew up in Miami, where as a boy he was once ticketed by the police for selling mangoes by the side of the road without a license. He joined SVP on a fellowship in 2009, after graduating from Cardozo School of Law and the University of Florida. Matt recently spent a year in SE Asia on a street food sabbatical with his wife, Shari.

SUZANNE WASSERMAN is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and an historian. She has a PhD in history from New York University. She is currently the director of the Gotham Center for NYC History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Wasserman lectures, writes and consults about New York City history, especially the history of the Lower East Side. She has published widely on topics such as the Great Depression, Jewish nostalgia, housing, restaurant culture, tourism, pushcart peddling, silent films, 19th century saloons and 21st century street fairs. She is the co-author of Life on the Lower East Side, 1937-1950: Photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff (Princeton Architectural Press, 2006), which is in its 4th printing.

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