Pig Roasting on a Spit in an Upper West Side Alley

by - May 13, 2010 at 3:08 pm -

pig
It’s not every day that you see a pig roasting on a spit in an alley on the Upper West Side. But that’s what was happening earlier this week, and some local residents were not very happy about it.

Recipe, the New American restaurant at 452 Amsterdam Avenue off of 82nd Street, held a first anniversary celebration for its staff this week, and roasted the pig out back, a manager at the restaurant confirmed.

But residents apparently complained to the restaurant because the smell of the roasting pig was overhwhelming their senses.

One of them, Judy Starr, lives in a building next to the restaurant and took the above picture on Tuesday morning (she blames Land Thai, another restaurant on her flickr page, but the pig was actually being cooked by Recipe, Land’s sister restaurant). Starr said she complained to the restaurant and even called the police to no avail. She said the smell of pig and lighter fluid invaded her apartment for 2 days and she had to turn on air filters so she could breathe comfortably. Eventually one of her neighbors who has two newborns complained and the restaurant took the pig inside, Starr said. (A quick aside about the picture: I love the guy who’s roasting the pig. He just looks very relaxed hanging out in the alley with a pair of tongs in one hand and a fire extinguisher at his feet.)

Starr, an animal-rights activist, said she was horrified by the roasting pig.

“It was the horrible smell that I first noticed. Then I saw the poor piglet from my kitchen window. I love animals and have never ever seen anything like that before in my whole life,” she told us via email.

(We understand her sentiments, and imagine the smell must have been intense, but there is something appealing about seeing an actual animal being cooked, as opposed to the processed food we eat every day. Of course, it is somewhat strange to see it in an alley on the Upper West Side, and not somewhere like Hawaii.)

The Recipe manager we talked to said she hadn’t heard about any complaints, but another manager may have been on duty at the time.

We asked her if the pig-roast would be a recurring event.

“It was just a one-time thing,” she said.

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Comments

  1. Ben says...

    I like that Westside Indepenent has a tag for articles about “salty meat.”

  2. Gavan Vogler says...

    chillax everybody

  3. Melissa says...

    I hope entitled Judy never visits another country where this is a regular occurrence. I love how she originally blamed the Thai restaurant…xenophobic much? Makes me want to move somewhere like Thailand where animals are food and not something to whine about. Maybe Anthony Bourdain would be my neighbor too and we can have regular piglet roasts every single day. And we wouldn’t have to worry about being assaulted by the chemical smells of franken soyburgers and soydogs.

  4. sven says...

    Looking at that pig made me hungry, really hungry.

  5. -Blue aka The Thrifty Mom says...

    OMG, that poor poor woman! How cruel and torturous it must have been to smell REAL, WHOLE, NATURAL food cooking and not some packaged, chemical-filled carbohydrate crap! She should sue! *weep*

    Perhaps the family with the newborns was having to smell that nasty, all-natural food smell whilst they mixed up the soy-and-sugar powdered infant formula for their twins! Horrors! That those innocent babes may have smelt the scents of what humans are SUPPOSED to eat …

  6. Levi says...

    Its interesting that she claims she’s never seen anything like that in her life. That takes a special and focused kind of willful ignorance. The last time I was in Thailand I had wild boar.

  7. Bob Savadowski says...

    Now I need to go eat some pork.

  8. Michael says...

    Nothing like real sourced food to get people all worked up, LOL!

  9. 102415 says...

    OMG please phone me asap if this is happening again. I will take a cab.
    Are you sure it was salty? Was there vinegar. OMG. Yes, I am on a stupid diet .No, I haven’t lost any weight but I am hungry all the time.
    Like right now.
    Wait, was there bread?

  10. Tracy says...

    It is so easy to be flippant when attacking someone’s beliefs. That this woman is an animal rights activist probably means that she has spent her time and resources protecting creatures that have been abused.
    I’m surprised that no one has questioned the practice of a RESTAURANT roasting any food in an ALLEY! Last time I looked, alleys usually aren’t up to health codes put in place for our protection. This is a ‘Recipe’ for disaster!

  11. T. Boyd says...

    Sadly some of the citizens of this country have lost all sense of values and have no compassion for animals. For me, and my family and friends, we find nothing humorous nor appetizing about a living little creature, who harmed nobody, being impaled on a spit and being cooked. This pig suffered a merciless slaughter. How people can look at that picture and make such uncivilized and heartless remarks is very disappointing. I find it barbaric and crass.

  12. Wanda Boland says...

    It really doesn’t look appetizing, it looks like a little piglet, still pink and like a animal. The Good Lord knows what it went thru, there is a better way to portray this. I’ll pass.

  13. Suzanne says...

    I agree, Wanda, a baby pig. Only heathens could put a little pig to death and roast it on a spit, and subject decent people and even children to that heinous sight and experience.

    Both those restaurants, however they were involved, will suffer the loss of many customers.

    Plaudits to Judy Starr. My sympathy to the mother whose babies were subjected to the fumes from that horror.

  14. creatomatic says...

    Nice and sanitary with a side of rat poop. That’s not a pig, it’s the Chupacabra. Hmmm… I see an electronic rotisserie plugged in, a dead pig, no fire and a guy stoned from the fumes ready to tong something. Judy was right to to be concerned especially if they were using an abundance of lighter fluid but 911 is a joke. She should have called the EPA because look at what happened to that guy guarding the swine. I like the photo.

  15. ruddi says...

    its horrible i am with judy

  16. ruddi says...

    I SAW ROASTING PIG AS A CHILD IN MY COUNTRY EVEN TODAY 40 YEARS LATER I HAVE NOT GET OVER THIS HORRIBLE PRACTICE

  17. megha says...

    I eat meat, in fact I eat and cook meat every day, however, this is gross. I don’t think it’s necessary to cook a piglet, and I surely don’t want to eat meat or anything else cooked in a NYC ally. There is prob enough meat on there to feed what, 3 or 4 people? really? what a waste. I understand Judy’s sentiments. She wasn’t condescending towards meat eaters, or even the act of cooking and eating meat, she didn’t want to smell that in her home, nor did she want to see it, and who can blame her? I grew up in places where hog roasts were a huge summer event, but not baby pigs, and it wasn’t out in the open so that what we were eating had a face for us to look at, or so that the smell went into our homes. The people with their snide comments about Judy need to watch out with that judgmental tone. Karma comes around…. someone might be roasting something that reminds them of a childhood pet outside their door one day…. enjoy those nightmares….

  18. ChrisG says...

    if the restaurant wants to roast pigs, then the onus is on them to find a way to do it on their own premises. i’m glad this wasn’t right outside my window, the smell of lighter fluid is nasty and probably made that pig taste like ashes anyway. they’re lucky nobody dumped dishwater on the fire :)

  19. Karen says...

    Bad enough we have factory farming, now this. At least see an animal is slaughtered humanely. And so many NY’kers call people in the south backwards. Shame on you all. Aren’t we supposed to be trying to make the world a better place?

  20. Joe Madski says...

    The roasting of the pig was not in an alley! It was in their back yard which is next to the alley. This lady was high on something and was imagining things. There is nothing wrong with roasting a piglet. It is tastier meat and more tender than a full grown pig. You can buy piglets in stores which means these people did not actually kill the piglet themselves. If you complain about this, you should be out boycotting stores to stop selling meats in their business. This feeling is downright asinine.