Food In Parks: It Can Work!


One of the happiest discoveries during my time in New York last week was the harvest market at Madison Square park, which I stumbled onto after convincing myself that a Shake Shack burger wasn't a good breakfast option (I still sort of regret talking myself out of one).

Set smack-dab in the center of Madison Square, near the lines leading into Eataly (Lines! For a grocery store!), the temporary "food square" at 24th and Fifth Avenue was crammed with vendors, from Roberta's (exceptional pizzas), to Wafels & Dinges (Belgian waffles), to Pies 'n' Thighs (insane buffalo chicken biscuit sandwiches). The vendors set up shop on October 9, and they'll be there, seven days a week, nine hours a day, until November 1. The vendor booths were ringing a small area with tables and chairs, and New Yorkers luxuriated in the October sunshine, snacking.

I bring this up because when I returned to San Francisco, it was just as the Blue Bottle-Dolores Park fiasco reached a head, finally resulting in James Freeman's decision not to open his coffee kiosk. The whole situation has been covered by other media outlets, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't weigh in. The Madison Square park example made me all the more confident that food vendors in and around parks is a smart, fun idea. That we San Franciscans won't get to experience that is a true disappointment.

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