September 16-October 1st was Oyster Week in New York City. It was actually a couple of weeks oyster centric events at various venues throughout the city that celebrated the significant role of the oyster in the history, culture and economy of New York.
The geography of New York City harbor estuary was conducive to the production of oysters. In 1860 12 million of them were sold in New York markets . They became the classic New York snack by the 1800’s, the first real street food, cheap and plentiful and sold by street carts. By 1900 over-fishing and pollution caused them to disappear from the harbor.
I attended the grand finale event, Oystoberfest on Saturday evening. It was held on the cobblestone streets of the South Street Seaport in front of the old Fulton Fish Market. It was a casual, outdoor event with stalls of oysters being shucked all night. The oysters were served raw on the half shell and I added a mignonette of red wine vinegar, chopped onions and pepper to each oyster I sample in order to be consistent. Beer and wine were served and I made due with a generic white wine.
Excellent live music was provided by the band, “The National”.
What I sampled:
Cape May Salt (New Jersey)
Fishers Island (New York)
Empire (New York)
Big Rock (Massachusetts)
Beach Soleil (New Brunswick)
Lucky Lime (Prince Edward Island)
Grand Isle (Louisiana)
Purple Haze (Washington)
Little Skookum (Washington)
Beach Angels (British Columbia)
Kusshi (British Columbia)