A last minute call from a friend had me taking off early from work, and rushing to the subway. After a 40 minute ride on the 7 train, and an additional 18 minutes on the 6 train, I found myself wandering around city hall, trying to find 220 Vesey Street. It took me a good 20 minutes of speed walking to end up where I wanted to be.
On April 7, Brookfield Office Properties, management of the World Financial Center, presented the kickoff event for the 2011 Eat: World Financial Center. 18 vendors, mostly located near the financial district, came to support the opening of the Greenmarket located inside of the Winter Garden Plaza. The event was held between 11am-2pm.
Vendors such as Au Bon Pain, Devon and Blakely, The Grill Room, Southwest NY, Yushi, Financier Patisserie offered some of their restaurant’s famous bites for less than the original price. Most dishes ranged from $1 to $5.
The stands were feet apart from each other and for some stands; lines wrapped around pillars that required ushers to guide the lines. Many who came were all suited up, a few were in casual clothing such as myself, and it made me feel like I was at a high end event. Despite everyone’s diverse styles, we all shared an unified goal within the 3 hours—FOOD!
Half way through pigging out, I almost forgot the most important aspect of the event— the Greenmarket.
The Greenmarket or #18 on the paper map provided, was supposedly the highlight of the event, was nowhere to be found. A tiny stand with display of eggs, cheese, and wines was in spot #18. Apparently, the market was located elsewhere in the building for a “more enjoyable shopping experience,” claimed one of the volunteers.
It didn’t seem like anyone cared much about the market. Many just came for the food and forgot what the event was for. An old couple who walked all the way from Chinatown said they came for the “event,” but in hindsight, it was obvious that they were here for the food. The old man commented, “My daughter said there was going to be food and so I came.”
Another attendee commented, “I was expecting a whole market to be displayed when I walked in (but) then I found myself indulging in these desserts.” A group huddled together overheard and nodded their heads in agreement.
I can see why. While walking there, there were no other signs, except for a banner at the crossing bridge above the west side highway that could have easily gone unnoticed, notifying that the event was on April 7.
The information booth located at the entrance of the door, focused more on spreading the words about foursquare rather than the event. The representative said, “The market is down the hall. Have you checked in on foursquare yet?”
The market was nothing extraordinary. It just looked like a smaller version of Whole Foods offering fruits, vegetables, jams, and flowers. It was quite disappointing. The fruit stand lady explained that this was just a small part of it and that it will start to offer more once the weather gets warmer. The stands will also be taking place outside the WFC, and will be held every Thursday from 11am-7pm until December.
Jason Gordon from Brookfield, responded, “Spring is the perfect time to kick off the event. The event has been held for more than 3 years. We support farmers everywhere, from tri state areas to come out and introduce to the public their hard work. We’re fortunate to have some of the restaurants support us in the event.”
In every passing year, the event becomes more known to New Yorkers. Jordan, a financial analyst at a near-by company brought his co-worker Elisa to the event during their lunch break. Jordan said, “I was here last year but it wasn’t this crowded. I told Elisa to come since she never heard of it. I was surprised to see this many people showing up,” he chuckled and continued “maybe it’s a bad idea. Now, I have to fight for the last chicken.” (Referenced to Southwest NY’s mesquite-smoked chicken wings)
Elisa added, “I’m glad he informed me or else I would have missed out all these great food.”