The popular Lower East Side street fair Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas returns in June, in a new virtual format, with a different theme each weekend.
As always, the focus is on the cultural diversity of the area around the Museum at Eldridge Street through its food, music, dance, folk art and more.
As you can guess by its name, Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas represents the trio of cultures in the museum’s Jewish, Chinese and Loisaida neighborhood.
The revamped festival, now in its 20th year, will feature videos, interviews, activities for kids and more, all FREE and all shared on the museum’s webpage and social media channels.
Each themed week includes a live virtual program on Sunday afternoons, connecting with world-class chefs, musicians, artists and others who keep our cultural folk traditions alive – and share them across cultures.
Weekly themes are:
Sunday, June 6 – Food
Foodways folklorist Lucy Long will lead this conversation with Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Russ and Daughters and Casa Adela, about the legacy and impacts of their restaurants on the city’s cultural and culinary landscape.
Then Dominican Cravings of Essex Market will give an empanadas demo with Maria Bido from The Loisaida Center.
● Food folklorist Lucy Long
● Russ & Daughters
● Nom Wah Tea Parlor
● Casa Adela
Sunday, June 13 – Music and Dance
Enjoy a plena and bomba music performance with Los Pleneros de la 21; a Yiddish dance demonstration by teacher, choreographer, and performer Steve Weintraub; and a timeless folk performance of traditional music from Hebei and Donbei regions of China by Mencius Society for the Arts’s EastRiver Ensemble.
● Bomba and plena with Los Pleneros de la 21
● Yiddish dance with Steve Wintraub
● Traditional Chinese music with EastRiver Ensemble
Sunday, June 20 – Games and Cultural Exchange
This community-centered discussion about street games will feature handball player and community organizer Lian Chin, “9-Man” documentarian Ursula Liang, and born and bred New Yorker, Gil Gordon! Steve Zeitlin, Founding Director of City Lore, will guide the conversation on how games build community and promote cultural exchange in the Lower East Side and beyond.
● Handball player and community organizer Lian Chin
● “9-Man” documentarian Ursula Liang
● Founding director of City Lore, Steve Zeitlan
Sunday, June 27 – Folk Arts
Folk arts are passed down from parent to child, master to apprentice. They’re often adapted or changed, but their roots in tradition are ever present.
In this program, you’ll tour vijigante mask-maker Felipe Rangel’s home and studio, and artists Ling Tang and Rachel Asarnow will discuss and demo the similarities and differences between Chinese and Jewish paper cutting.
● Vejigante mask maker Felipe Rangel
● Papercutters Ling Tang and Rachel Asernow
The festival is named for three foods that are associated with the Jewish, Chinese, and Puerto Rican communities of the Museum’s neighborhood.
These foods originated with each culture but have been either founded in America or greatly adapted on American soil – a perfect vehicle to celebrate immigrant culture and communities’ interactions andadaptations to a new home.
The Museum at Eldridge Street is itself an example of that adaptation and cultural resilience and a proud partner in the neighborhood’s continued evolution.
The historic, restored building is still a working “shul”, with regular Jewish religious services, a museum with rotating exhibits, and a community center for the groups represented by the Egg Rolls, Egg Creams and Empanadas festival.
“This year, it feels more important than ever to uplift and support local communities and celebrate diversity. Many of New York’s immigrant neighborhoods have suffered due to the effects of COVID-19 and increased xenophobia and discrimination in the past year, especially Manhattan’s Chinatown. This year, the Museum aims for the festival to cultivate meaningful appreciation of difference and shared identity. In June and throughout the year, the Museum honors the spirit of this ever-changing neighborhood and encourages an open dialogue about the immigrant experience in New York City today, ” the Museum told NYCOTC in a statement.