By Tara Kyle
HELL'S KITCHEN — Visitors to the High Line looking to satisfy their hunger without coming down to street level will get an array of new choices this summer.
Friends of the High Line co-founder Joshua David told members of Community Board 4's waterfront and parks committee Thursday night that after the weather warms up, a collection of snack vendors will debut on the rail line's Chelsea Passage section, between West 15th and West 16th streets.
That plan is the first in a series of steps to amp up food options on and beneath the elevated park. Eventually, the High Line also hopes to offer snacks on the wide section above West 14th Street, and possibly set up an enclosed restaurant underneath the Gansevoort Plaza entrance.
"We want the character of the High Line to be enhanced by the food we bring up there," David said, explaining that part of that meant making choices that emphasized the value of sustainability.
Exactly what kind of food will be available this summer along the Chelsea Passage has not yet been decided.
Another challenge for the woman guiding many of those choices, Director of Food Melina Shannon-DiPietro, will be finding the right mix of upscale food (needed for revenue) and affordable options (so that the park will feel welcoming).
CB4 Assistant District Manager Jenna Chrisphonte pressed Shannon-DiPietro on that point, explaining that high-end vendors such as Colicchio & Sons (which sold doughnuts and soups on the park last fall) might not feel as accessible to minorities and immigrants.
Shannon-DiPietro, who is a newcomer to Friends of the High Line and former director of Yale's Sustainable Food Project, said she hoped to bring in women and minority entrepreneurs.
One vendor she is in conversations with right now is Hot Bread Kitchen, a non-profit benefiting low-income and immigrant women who contribute recipes from their home countries. Hot Bread is available at La Marqueta in Harlem.
"I really like the idea that, through food, we can do good," Shannon-DiPietro said. "Good for the people eating it, good for the farmers growing it, and good for the health of the land."