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City Wants to Create New Hunts Point Food Festival

By Patrick Wall | July 26, 2012 1:10pm

HUNTS POINT — The Bronx could be the next borough to host a major food festival, deep inside the sprawling Hunts Point food market.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation called on event organizers Thursday to submit proposals for a one-day food festival to be held in the parking lot of the New Fulton Fish Market in Hunts Point as early as this fall.

“Food festivals have already proven themselves to be extremely popular events in neighborhoods all across the city,” EDC president Seth Pinsky said in a statement. “This site now offers an incredible opportunity to build upon that popularity with an exciting event that will greatly benefit Hunts Point and the entire Bronx.”

The agency envisions local restaurants and food trucks serving fresh-cooked cuisine in the 4.5-acre lot, while community groups offer cooking demonstrations and workshops on farming and healthy eating.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn noted that food festivals — such as the annual Choice Streets food truck tasting in Manhattan, or the new Great GoogaMooga event in Brooklyn — can “kick-start economic activity, showcase local neighborhoods, and attract new consumers.”

The Bronx already is home to many festivals that feature local food vendors.

Food stands spring up around the Hunts Point Fish Parade, for instance, which began in 2003 as a way to welcome the New Fulton Fish Market to the peninsula ahead of its arrival two years later. And the annual Ferragosto celebration draws visitors to Arthur Avenue and its famed Italian eateries.

But The Bronx’s ethnic, and edible, diversity, makes it the ideal venue for a new food-focused festival, said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“This event will be a great way to showcase the wonderful tastes — from all over the nation and indeed the world — that our borough has to offer,” Diaz said.

Hunts Point’s massive Food Distribution Center, which houses the fish market, as well as produce and meat markets, has seen other development action in recent weeks.

The federal government offered the Hunt’s Point Terminal Produce Market a $10 million federal grant last month to help upgrade its aging rail distribution system.

Before that, the city called on developers to submit proposals to build a 200,000-square-foot rooftop farm atop a large warehouse in the center, which could become one of the largest such farms in the world.

Would-be Bronx food festival organizers have until Aug. 24 to submit their proposals to the city.