Food in Mouth


Bastille Day parties in NYC

Yay! It's Bastille Day! I don't know what that means. Actually did you know that in France, they don't even call it that? It's true. Steph told me that it's just an American thing. But here in New York, the France national day celebration is still called Bastille Day Celebration. In fact, there's not one, but two such parties in New York every year. Many people are familiar with the one in Carroll Garden's on Smith St. There's pétanque in the streets and everything. The second party is in Manhattan around 60th street by Lexington Ave. This one is backed by the fiaf. If you're into food, I say go to the 60th street celebration next year, and if you're into chilling and drinking beer, then go to the one on Smith st.


If you go to the party on 60th street hosted by the fiaf, you'll see loooots of food stands. There were ham and cheese sandwiches, croissants, brioches, pastries, macarons, couscous, and my favorite... merguez sandwiches. There were at least three different places selling merguez sandwiches. And of course, I picked the most simple, and cheapest option. $3 dollars. Yup. Three small links of merguez inside of a baguette-type thing, and some sort of red sauce. It was sooooo worth the $3 dollars. Other sandwiches that cost more looked bigger and had toppings. The sausage always looks bigger on the other plate...


I didn't even pay attention to where the merguez was from. Some place with the word 'nomad' in the name. But I didn't pay attention. The smoke from the grill made me forget. And did I mention it was a three dollar sandwich?! After the sandwich I spoted a Payard stand. In fact there were TWO such stands. Of course Payard actually closed... see this Chowhound post. Since they didn't have a store, it was cool to see that they had a stand and were selling everything for $4 dollars! Sweet.


See this is a caramel tart with some nuts and a chocolate disc on top. $4! I bet back when Payard had a store front, this tart woulda been like $6 dollars. So I was happy to get it at a discount, and to have a great meal of a merguez sandwich and a chocolate-caramel tart for just $7 dollars. If I could only eat this well everyday...

bastille-day-crowd chef-cyril

There were plenty of people on hand, and even a big time chef. Cyril Renaud was on hand at the Bar Breton stand. He was doing it all, making sandwiches, flipping crepes, and socializing with the customers. Dude was working it. Good to see non-celeb chefs actually cooking. I mean, celeb chefs are fine, I like them, but it's cool to see them do their thing.


If you head over to Smith street, you get the same packed crowd. You could even say that with the street covered by pétanque courts, the sidewalks were more crowded than at 60th street. It was also more of a people in their 20s and 30s type of crowd. On 60th street you had older folks, and young kids. There was a dude selling animal balloons at 60th st. On Smith st, I think people just wanted to chill and drink. No animal balloons there.


So next year if you're deciding between the two Bastille Day celebrations, you could just base your decision on whether you want to get a buzz. Or you could just walk all over the city and visit both of them like I did. Just be sure to wear sunscreen.

Posted by Danny on

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  • actually, there were lots of kids playing in the sand on Smith Street, if you go to the petanque "courts" closer to Pacific Street toward the end of the day.

  • That's true. There's also some sort of skate boarding thing closer to Pacific street that they seem to have had the last couple of years. That attracts younger kids too.

  • Nomad is the name of an Algerian restaurant in the East Village.

  • Bonjour, I'm french, I'm living in Paris. I've never heard of Bastille Day, so it's very interesting. If you don't know, the "Bastille" was a prison and the symbol of the outrageous royal power. On july 14th, 1789, the fortress was stormed by "revolutionnaires" and it subsequently became an icon of the French Republic. We celebrate this day with fireworks. Bonne journée.

  • @jae_em,

    Ah... thank you :)


    Oooh nice. What line of work are you in? I heard the fireworks is really good there... kinda like how we do on July 4th.

  • Hey, I am living in Paris for a year or so for work. You're right, they don't call it Bastille Day here, they call it "July 14th." Same thing as our calling Independence Day the "4th of July."

    I work 200 feet from Place de la Bastille. I work for a French company and all the French people got the day off but I didn't. So, guess how I celebrated? I went home after work and went to sleep. I couldn't give a shizznit.

  • Danny, I work in software development, nothing too exciting.

    Yes, it's a big party - the fireworks are shot off near the Eiffel Tower.

  • @lafloreetlafaune,

    Hurray for fireworks!


    Cool, I thought it was hard for Americans to work in Paris. Wait, or are you French? My girlfriend was telling me about how the fireworks by the Eiffel Tower are really spectacular. One of these days I'll have to go see 'em.

  • The "red sauce" with your merguez sandwich is called Harissa :)

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