mangos in NY!

What could be better then walking down the street on a beautiful spring afternoon while eating a mango on a stick? Yes…that’s right…a mango on a stick. With limon, sal y chile of course. And no…I’m not in Mexico… although the whole experience made me feel (and wish) like I was.

I left the office at 6 and was on my way to the train station, taking the random streets that zigzag the way there, north-west-north-west, until I arrive at Penn Station, with all the other daily commuters. After a couple of minutes I looked up and at the next corner were two women ordering mangos…on a stick. I could hardly believe my eyes and must have stared for a couple of minutes in disbelief before snapping out of my daydream, remembering the last time I had witnessed such a scene in Mexico City five years ago.

It felt like yesterday that I saw the many street vendors selling all sorts of items along the paths of the main park in the capitol city. I remember loving the immeasurable quantities of tropical fruits available- mangos, pineapple, papaya, coconut-, the vibrant colors in every direction, and the incessant heat that very gradually dissipated through the early evening hours. Seeing these women eating mangos on a stick brought back lots of memories…
And so I decided to stop.

The two sellers with their movable “stand” were latinos and were speaking Spanish while serving the clients. The young man seemed to understand more English than his female co-worker … an excellent opportunity to practice some Spanish.
“Yes…a mango on a stick.”
“Yes…cut please.”
“Yes…with limon.”
“Yes…with sal.”
“Yes…with chile.”
“Solamente un poquito.”…after all it had been awhile since I’d eaten chile.

The basic conversation was fun and gave me the opportunity to watch the team in action. He carefully selected my mango from a big bag before handing it off to the woman who skillfully peeled it in about 5 seconds. Then came some questions before she passed him the mango for it to be put on a stick, somehow put directly into the pit. She managed to cut the mango into sections while leaving the entire fruit on the stick. Within a minute my fresh Mexican mango was ready- peeled, on a stick and sliced. I loved watching the “process”- two dedicated immigrant workers, speaking their own language, bare hands covered in mango juice, recreating a daily scene from their country on the streets of New York City.

One of the reasons I love New York.

No…I didn’t have my camera…but it didn’t matter…the experience was enough and left me smiling all the way home, despite the strange looks from the other pedestrians or fellow LIRR (Long Island Railroad) commuters who must not have been to Mexico recently.

I can’t wait to find tropical fruit juice in a plastic bag.


Popular Posts