Harvest in the Square raises $367G for park

A seating area alongside the tent (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Supporters of Union Square Park and devout foodies from around the city gathered at Harvest in the Square, the Union Square Partnership’s annual food festival and fundraiser that this year raised $367,000.

The event, held under a tent in the park on September 14, offered guests tastings from 50 restaurants in the area. The event featured neighborhood newcomers such as Nur, Bowery Road, Daily Provisions, Fusco, Ando and others, in addition to mainstays like Aleo, Blue Smoke, Union Square Café, Blue Water Grill & Metropolis and more.

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$378G raised for Union Square Park from record-breaking Harvest event

Rooda Shankar of sweetgreen

Roopa Shankar of sweetgreen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Union Square Partnership raised more than $378,000 for the 21st annual Harvest in the Square that took place at the end of last month, raising more than in any previous year. The amount brings the fundraising total to more than $5,728,000 in the last two decades.

Since it started in 1995, the event has grown to include more than 50 local restaurants and 15 wineries and breweries, including old neighborhood favorites like Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe and Blue Water Grill, as well as newcomers like The Poke Spot, sweetgreen, Cava Grill and Flats Fix.

Salad-focused sweetgreen has only been in the neighborhood since last December but Roopa Shankar, who attended her first Harvest this year, said that she talked to attendees from previous years who noticed a definite increase in restaurants similar to the DC-based chain.

“There’s a lot more fast-casual food that’s also healthy this year,” she said.

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3 local organizations holding food festivals as fundraising events

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

At a previous Harvest in the Square, guests sit outside the tent. (Photo by Liz Ligon/courtesy of Union Square Partnership)

By Sabina Mollot

Supporting neighborhood organizations is about to get very tasty.

This is because three local organizations are holding food tasting events this month bypassing more traditional kinds of fundraising events. The hosts are, respectively, the Union Square Partnership, hosting the 21st annual Harvest in the Square festival on September 22, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, holding the fourth annual Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood on September 24, and Solar One, holding an Oktoberfest event on September 27.

Details for each event are as follows:

Harvest in the Square benefits its host’s efforts to maintain and beautify Union Square Park as well as fund summer programming. Over 50 local restaurants will participate at this event, held under a giant tent at the park’s North Plaza.

A handful of those include Croque Monsieur, Gramercy Tavern, Ngam, Rosa Mexicano, Strip House, Flats Fix, Black Barn, The Pavilion, The Poke Spot, Union Fare and Hill Country Chicken. There will also be tastings from a dozen regional wineries.

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Harvest in the Square raises $334,000 for park

Breads Bakery at Harvest in the Square (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Breads Bakery at Harvest in the Square (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Community residents and local restaurateurs came out in full force last Thursday night to celebrate the impending arrival of fall at Union Square’s 19th annual Harvest in the Square event.

The food tasting festival raised $334,000 and Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership, said that she will be speaking with the Parks Department soon to discuss goals for the coming year and determine how the money will be spent. Tickets were $125 and $400 for early VIP entry.

Danny Meyer of the Union Square Cafe and Eric Petterson from The Coffee Shop are the founding members of the event and have been participating every year. Other returning participants included the Union Square Whole Foods, Blue Water Grill, Rosa Mexicano, Almond, Blue Smoke and others, with nearly 50 local restaurants in all. Some new restaurants participating in the event for the first time included The Pavilion, All’onda, The Gander, Cevich, 201 Bar and Restaurant and Botequim.

Richard and Kamille Serna, residents of the Financial District, are in the area frequently because they manage a building on 15th Street. Although they’ve been working in the area for a while, this was the first chance they got to partake in Harvest in the Square.

Kamille said they were impressed with what they tried so far but were particularly looking forward to sampling what Blue Water Grill had to offer. The Union Square restaurant’s Executive chef Luis Jaramillo was serving Maine lobster deviled eggs with tarragon.

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