From a bride and groom eating coconut paletas to what happens when kids walk away with the toppings, Fany Gerson of La Newyorkina shares her favorite customer memories in our new weekly series, Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.
Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)
I love making people happy and creating memories with food, which is why I am the proud owner and chef of La Newyorkina. I have been a chef for over ten years and have loved food my whole life. When I was one year old, my father gave me two dozen chocolate truffles as a present, not realizing I would eat almost all in one sitting! We often have visitors from far away like New Zealand, Australia, and Israel that come to the stand to tell us a friend of theirs told them they had to taste our paletas. That means the world to me, especially because they get to experience part of my culture, which is a mission of mine.
Secret talents? Does publishing two cookbooks, My Sweet Mexico and Paletas count?
What do you love about your location on the High Line at West 17th Street?
I love that we have on our own little corner of the park with a lot of sunlight. I am from Mexico, after all, and need the sun! We are a surprise treat for a lot of visitors who don't expect more food after the Chelsea Market Passage. The scenery is beautiful with an incredible view of the New York City skyline.
You interact with hundreds of customers each day. Share your favorite memory with us.
Two memories come to mind. The first: On a rainy day, we spotted a beautiful bride and groom taking a stroll. We gave them coconut paletas as a celebratory gesture—it was a color that wouldn’t stain the bride’s dress! Few words were exchanged, as they spoke little English, but the memory is a beautiful one and stays with me.
Another memory: We have a salted chile seasoning on our cart that pairs great with our flavors. One day, it disappeared! I thought it had fallen on the ground. But a little girl—about 8 years old, from Mexico—had it in her small hand. She was pouring it over every inch of her paleta. I saw myself as a kid in her face. In Mexico, people sprinkle this seasoning over fruit. Our candies are often, sweet, sour, salty, and spicy in one bite. Seeing her eating happily brought a smile to my face. I think she finished half the bottle on her own!