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New Spring Food Festival Could Replace 'Mad. Sq. Mark't'

By DNAinfo Staff on April 5, 2011 12:32pm

The Madison Square Park Conservancy revamped its plans for the
The Madison Square Park Conservancy revamped its plans for the "Mad. Sq. Mark't" after complaints from Community Board 5.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Midtown’s Community Board 5 parks committee voted unanimously Monday night in favor of a plan by the Madison Square Park Conservancy to replace its popular 'Mad. Sq. Mark't' with a new summer food festival.

While still in the planning stages, the new event would feature 15 to 18 restaurants serving fare from 24 booths around the square, said Mike Rucker, the conservancy's director of communications. The event would last from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m May 6 through June 3, Rucker said — months earlier than 'Mad. Sq. Mark't,' which had been scheduled to take place from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22.

In January, the same committee voted unanimously to recommend ousting the third incarnation of the annual Mad. Sq. Mark't fall event. While many foodies had raved about the festival’s offerings from eateries including Resto, Almond, Ilili and Fatty 'Cue, board members had complained the festival blocked local residents' access to sidewalks, lasted way too long, and looked like a run-of-the-mill street fair.

The new design was meant to address the board's concerns.

"We’re grateful that they listened to our concerns and came back to us with a revised plan," said Wally Rubin, district manager of Community Board 5.

While the conservancy expects to earn a considerably smaller profit from the revised event, Rucker said members were pleased by the positive reception to the food-only plan.

"We’re thrilled that the community board is as excited as we are to bring this part of the market back for a second round," Rucker said.

The proposal will now go before the full board on Thurs. April 14 at 6 p.m. at St. Xavier High School at 30 W. 16th St.