When your great-grandparents wanted chicken, they didn’t pick up a Perdue roaster from the local A&P. They probably went to a poultry market, like the Yonkers First Live Poultry Market (270 New Main St, Yonkers 914-963-3786), the family-run market which first opened its pens in 1914 and which today still houses, slaughters, and butchers live chickens, quails, turkeys, ducks, and rabbits.
Manager Vincent Siani imports popular poultry breeds from farms in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, usually stocking in his market 400 to 500 birds and more during the holidays. Siani recommends Cornish hens for barbecuing and Rhode Island Reds for “that old Jewish penicillin.”
To choose the best chicken, look for a large, vivid comb (fleshy growth on top of the head), full plumage, and bright eyes. Prices range from $1.50 to $2 per pound.
There are only a few live poultry markets in New York City, according to Siani. “A fresh bird is like nothing else,” Siani boasts. “It’s fresher, juicier, and tastier.”
Yonkers First Live Poultry Market is open Tuesday through Saturday.