Madison Square Eats
“It’s just great to have these places come to you,” Arch Saxena, 33, a cardiologist and nearby resident, remarked as she waited for the Calexico taco truck to open about 11 a.m.
Mad. Sq. Eats was packed for its first day of the Spring 2011 season. (DNAinfo/Olivia Scheck)
The upscale street fair, previously known as “Mad. Sq. Mark’t,” was forced to revamp its design after encountering resistance from the Community Board 5 Park’s Committee last January. The committee complained that the market, which had been held in the fall, was too similar in look to run-of-the-mill street fairs and that it was causing overcrowding on neighboring streets.
During its Friday opening, Sam Dalsimer, a PR executive who works less than a block away, said the market was more packed than he had ever seen it, with office workers flocking to enjoy the 70 degree weather.
Sill, the East Harlem resident said he was glad to have the gourmet food offerings back in Worth Square.
“It’s a nice departure from the usual street fairs that we have in New York, that have the same lemonade stand every time,” Dalsimer commented, as he chowed down on a grass-fed cheeseburger from Chelsea Market favorite Bar Suzette.
The fair is also a welcome change of pace for the restaurateurs who occupy the stands.
“At the restaurant people come in and eat and then they leave,” Piccolo Café owner Michele Massiri explained. “At the market, they want to see, they want to touch, they want to understand.”
Massiri was back in Madison Square Park for his second year, serving up pasta and paninis and expounding on the little-known health benefits of parmesan cheese.
Also returning to this year’s market were cousins Bruno Benzacken and Francois Athea of Spices and Tease, which offers spices and tea mixes from around the globe.
Benzacken said the business, which plans to open a brick-and-mortar location on the Upper West Side next month, has been in the family for nearly 100 years and still employs the same connections that were established by his great grandfather in the 18th century.
Mad. Sq. Eats will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week through June 3.