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Bronx Residents Eating Up Outdoor Bistro at Farmers Market

By Eddie Small | July 1, 2014 7:03pm
 The 161st Street BID set up an outdoor bistro in Joyce Kilmer Park on Tuesday.
Joyce Kilmer Park Bistro
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CONCOURSE — The temperatures may have been scorching outside Tuesday, but visitors to Joyce Kilmer Park were treated to an extra option for shaded seating thanks to the 161st Street Business Improvement District and a new outdoor eating area near the farmers market there.

The 161st Street BID had set up the outdoor bistro in a shady section of the park for residents and customers of the GrowNYC Bronx Borough Hall Greenmarket, and parkgoers were pleased to see the new tables and chairs.

"Certainly for eating, it's nicer to eat lunch on a table than on a bench," said Davina Harris, who works at Bronx Family Court.

"I jumped off of that bench because it was so hot against my skin."

The purpose of the bistro, consisting of five cafe-style tables and 10 designer chairs, is to bring a casual, relaxed outdoor dining experience to the Bronx and inspire other parks and restaurants in the borough to install similar amenities, according to 161st St BID Executive Director Cary Goodman.

"In Manhattan, everyone is fighting to have an outdoor cafe," he said. "Here, no one even bothers."

The bistro was available until roughly 2 p.m., and the BID plans to keep it going in the park every Tuesday until the market ends on Nov. 25, eventually adding features such as musicians and a coffee cart.

One person making use of the bistro on Tuesday afternoon was Bronx Community Board 4 Chair Kathleen Saunders. She said the idea had the backing of her organization.

"You can see it's being utilized," she said. "The board is very supportive."

GrowNYC was grateful to have the outdoor bistro in place as well, according to Communications Specialist Laura McDonald.

"Providing tables and chairs for neighbors to sit, chat and enjoy the market together is just one more way to encourage shoppers to get to know their neighbors," she said in an email.