Neighborhood Intel

New must-have neighborhood amenity: a high-end food court?

By Virginia K. Smith | September 23, 2015 - 11:59AM

Trends—especially in the condo and restaurant realm—have a way of falling in and out of vogue pretty quickly (cough, pet spas and cupcakes, cough). But we've got to admit: We're into the high-end food courts ("food halls," technically) popping up around the city, some of them in new condo buildings. What's not to like about cramming a bunch of the city's best food options under one roof?

However, we've noticed that with the exception of options like Gotham West Market (which is located on the ground floor of a huge new Hell's Kitchen residential development), and Berg'n (which is smack in the middle of Crown Heights), most of these food halls are situated in areas not wholly residential, like the Financial District and Midtown.

Which begs the question: Would a fancy food hall tip the scales in favor of moving to a not-traditionally residential neighborhood? Do you prefer these as the stuff of lunch breaks and happy hour drinking and noshing? Either way, let's take a tour of food halls that might help us break our Seamless habits once and for all:

Chelsea Market

75 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea

It's fair to say this one's more than just a flash-in-the-pan, having been a cornerstone of Chelsea's retail scene for the last 15 years. If you can get there during off-peak hours (hint: avoid lunch hour and weekend afternoons like the plague), you'll have your pick of options ranging from Num Pang sandwiches to Sarabeth's cookies to wine samples at Corkbuzz.

City Kitchen

700 8th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen

Thought it's got a blink-and-you'll-miss-it street entrance on 8th Avenue, as well as one tucked away in the lobby of the Row NYC hotel, this relative newcomer has a small but well-chosen roster of vendors including Dough, Luke's Lobster, Sigmund's Pretzels, and Azuki sushi. As Eater put it when it opened back in March, the place brings "so many solid lunch options" to the chain-oriented monotony around Times Square.

UrbanSpace Vanderbilt

230 Park Avenue, Midtown

This one just opened last week, and it's impressive: It's the first permanent installation from pop-up market purveyors UrbanSpace, and located right near Grand Central (at 45th and Vanderbilt). It also has clearly set its sights on both the commuter crowd and nearby office workers. (On a recent visit, we got the impression the oyster happy hour is already a hit with the suited crowd.) Vendors include Roberta's, Ovenly, Mimi's Hummus, AsiaDog, Delaney Chicken, and Red Hook Lobster pound, to name just a few. Suffice it to say you could do some serious damage here.

Brookfield Place

200 Vesey Street, Battery Park City

As we wrote earlier this month, shopping complex Brookfield Place is doing some major heavy lifting as one of the new retail outlets intended to spur along Lower Manhattan's revitalization. And the food section isn't slouching, to put it lightly: the Hudson Eats portion of Brookfield Place hosts buzzy vendors like Black Seed Bagels, Little Muenster, Dos Toros, and Umami Burger, as well as food palace Le District, a market-within-the-market that's been widely described as "the French Eataly."


899 Bergen Street, Crown Heights

So far the only major player in Brooklyn (though we're sure a food hall will land in Williamsburg sooner rather than later), Berg'n is the Crown Heights-based brick-and-mortar market from the same team behind Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea. The food options are appropriately outer-borough centric; think two different restaurants from the Sussman brothers, lots of locally brewed beers, and plenty of barbecue from Mighty Quinn's.

Gotham West Market

600 11th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen

Granted, it might be a little dangerous for the waistline and wallet to live right above a food hall that features Ivan Ramen, Ample Hills ice cream, charcuterie at the Cannibal, and it's own taqueria. But even if you don't happen to live upstairs in one of the upscale rental apartments at Gotham West (full disclosure, a Brick advertiser), the market has become a welcome stop on the formerly-barren walk to the westside waterfront.

Gansevoort Market

52 Ganesvoort Street, Meatpacking District

One more to add to the pile: The Ganesvoort Market opened up last fall, and has since become home to a slough of options, ranging from Colombian to tapas to the "English Pantry" Meyers of Keswick. ​​Get in there while you can: It was announced this summer that the market might vacate its quaint premises sometime in 2016 to make way for a reboot of the recently-shuttered Pastis. (See what we meant about these things cycling through quickly?)


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