Nearly 70,000 Ecuadorian-Americans who live in New York and New Jersey are eligible to vote in their home country's elections. While reading that this year's local polling place would be in Long Island City, I was reminded of a chance encounter with the election site four years ago.
That was on an April day in Astoria, across from Masjid al-Hikmah, and since I was on my way to the Indonesian bazaar, I stopped only for photos. Though yesterday's weather was much colder, seven or eight opportunistic vendors did set up outside the exit to the polling station.
By and large the fare was typical of the vendors who regularly do business along Roosevelt Ave., especially near Junction Blvd. I ate light — just one meatless tamal ($2, or three for $5) — while noting that at least three vendors used the corn cobs as evidence that their tamales and humitas were made with fresh corn and not masa. Hot morocho by the cup was on hand, of course, but one lady offered colada morada ($3) instead; previously, I'd found this spiced black-corn-flour beverage only in restaurants. As I was preparing to move on, I heard mention that "cuy llegó" but didn't stay to confirm the arrival of roast guinea pig.
Also shown below are two photos of my previous encounter with the polling place, on a shirt-sleeve day in Astoria. Though the presidential race is all but decided, the winning candidate for the country's national assembly, who will represent Ecuadorian-Americans living in the United States and Canada, has yet to be announced. Let's hope for a runoff election, in warmer weather.
Food vendors at the Ecuadorian election polling site
Outside LaGuardia Community College, Van Dam St. between Thomson and 47th Aves., Long Island City, Queens
(the 2013 general election was held on February 17; runoff date, if any, TBA)