Sell Nutcrackers!

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New York is a nutcracker town: On Rockaway Beach, sunbathing young professionals flag down glistening men hauling cooler bags. Middle-aged Dominicans crowd pushcarts during all-night parties in the park. Distinctively squat plastic bottles litter the streets after the Puerto Rican Day Parade in June, the West Indian Day Parade in September, and every festival in between. On trains, salesmen pull suitcases full of ice and work the commuters.

“Wednesday night, get your head right,” they shout. “Why settle for a beer when the nutcracker’s here?”

The candy-colored drinks are such a staple of summer in the city that “nutcracker” has become an umbrella term for any sweet, boozy drink that’s sold illegally on the street, out of barber shops or bodegas, and, increasingly, online.

Herbert, David Gauvey. 2019. “On the Trail of New York’s Nutcracker Kings.” Grub Street. June 13, 2019.
With thanks to Christian Rodriguez for the photo.

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