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says. ‘‘I started work­ing here at 13, clean­ing and sweep­ing. You start to learn lit­tle things, like us­ing the slic­ing ma­chine, and even­tu­ally you get to take care of the cus­tomers.’’ He has been tak­ing care of the cus­tomers for 34 years and now part-owns the busi­ness. ‘‘I’m start­ing to see [my orig­i­nal cus­tomers’] grand­chil­dren,’’ he says.

‘‘When I first came here it was run by a Pol­ish mo­mand pop, and was the only butcher shop that wasn’t kosher.’’

Across the road is an­other slice of his­tory. The Moore Street Mar­ket, opened in 1941 af­ter an edict from De­pres­sion-era mayor Fiorello LaGuardia that eye­sore push­cart ped­lars needed to get off the streets and move into more for­mal mar­ket­places, keeps East Wil­liams­burg’s im­mi­grant community sup­plied with the flavours of home. We stop for a Latin Amer­i­can san­co­cho pork and plain­tain stew at Ra­monita’s Res­tau­rant to­wards the rear of the mar­ket, and a glass of morir so­nando (a strangely de­li­cious Latin Amer­i­can mix of orange juice and evap­o­rated milk), as Van­den­Bosch de­scribes how this much-loved repos­i­tory al­most closed in 2008. It was ear­marked for de­mo­li­tion, but the lo­cals wouldn’t hear of it. Af­ter 25,000 sig­na­tures were gath­ered, there are now plans for ex­pan­sion and im­prove­ment.

‘‘There’s a bak­ery mov­ing in, a few more stalls and more diver­sity of cuisines, hope­fully,’’ says Van­den­Bosch. ‘‘The Chi­nese pop­u­la­tion is al­ready grow­ing.’’

If his­tory is any­thing to go by, the in­tro­duc­tion of Asian flavours will add yet an­other layer to a community al­ready rich in cul­tural and culi­nary diver­sity. Ur­ban Oys­ter-Turn­stile Tours’ Im­mi­grant Food­ways Tour of East Wil­liams­burg lasts be­tween 2 and 21/ hours; $US42 ($41) a per­son, in­clud­ing bot­tle of wa­ter, recipe book­let, mar­ket guide and tast­ings. Pri­vate tours avail­able. More: turn­stile­tours.com; ur­banoys­ter.com.

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