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Keivom/News Once a plentiful sight year-round, roasted chestnuts are now difficult to find, even during the holidays. Vendors sell them mostly in high-tourist areas.Related Stories   ABC Cocina's décor trumps food: Restaurant Review   People who eat more nuts live longer: study   Green smoothies 101: Health benefits and recipes        ?   Jennifer Aniston's yoga teacher Mandy Ingber shares her secrets to health and happiness It's   the season?for chestnuts roasting on an open fire - but good luck finding them on a streetcorner near you.The toasty treat that Nat King Cole immortalized in "The Christmas Song" was once a year-round staple of street vendors citywide.Now the chewy nuts are relegated to the tourist-heavy corners of Manhattan, a victim of changing tastes, vendors and foodies say."Every year, they become less and less popular," said Muhammad Ellanghi, 48, a vendor in Herald Square who added he'll sell a $3 bag to a dozen customers on a good day."Some New Yorkers buy them but it's mostly tourists. They've become part  Beats By Dr Dre Solo Cheap of Christmas in New York."Sayed Elshahat, 32, who mans a cart at Fifth Ave. and 39th St., said he used to start selling chestnuts at $4 a dozen as early as October. Now, it's just around Christmas."Chestnuts are expensive for us," he said. "There is less people buying them so less vendors are selling them. We can't afford to sell something nobody is buying."Roasted chestnuts appear to going the way of baked sweet potatoes, another once-ubiquitous sidewalk snack that went extinct in the 1950s, said New York food guru Arthur Schwartz."The simple answer is that few people have the taste for roasted chestnuts. Not Americans anyway - not even New Yorkers," he said. "Hence the chestnuts are in the touristic areas of the city."Also, the roasted chestnuts responsible for that fragrant scent wafting over city streets are imported from Italy, which makes them pricey street fare, Schwartz said."Chestnuts roasting on an open fire is some romantic idea from a song, but not something to eat," he said."It's nostalgic street food," said  Justin Bieber Beats Headphones Sean Basinski of the Urban Justice Center, which advocates on behalf of the vendors. "I think it smells better than it tastes."Joanne Amendola, 60, visiting from Trumbull, Conn., agreed after buying a bag of nuts at at Fifth Ave. and 46th St. vendor."Chestnuts are a tradition during the Christmas season," she said. "Just the smell of them brings back so many good memories.""Something about chestnuts in the city are special," said Marisa King, 16, of Middletown, R.I. "Every time I'm here this time of  Review Beats By Dre Studio year  White Beats By Dr Dre I buy some. It's part of being in New York during the Christmas season."Rachel Ziomkowski,   48, of the lower East Side, was the rare New Yorker who bought a bag from a vendor at Fifth Ave. and 39th St.And like the out-of-towners, she bought them for the memories they inspired rather than the taste."When I think of chestnuts, I think of winter, snow and fireplaces," Ziomkowski said. "I don't buy them every day, but they're part of the holidays in New York City."csiemaszko@nydailynews.com
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