The acclaimed foody paradise is back for its fourth (and possibly final) year, setting up shop for the first time at the East River State Park Sunday.
For one day only, Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint will dish up a delectable spread of food and drink from North Brooklyn’s own restaurant darlings, or what Felice Kirby at Teddy’s Bar and Grill calls New York’s “restaurant and cocktail meccas.” Among the dozens of expected vendors are old and new Brooklyn culinary giants, including longtime sponsor Brooklyn Brewery, Rick Camac’s renowned pork-heaven Fatty ‘Cue, DuMont, Maison Premiere and Williamsburg fledgling taqueria Zona Rosa.
“It’ll be a great time to sit around and get to know your neighbors and enjoy this park, and enjoy the fact that we’ve not only survived the hardships of our past but that we’re thriving,” said Kirby. “We’re growing not shrinking.”
Kirby, who also works with Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) is referring to the central purpose of Taste — a food festival that not only celebrates the flavor and vivacity of North Brooklyn’s locals, but also fortifies the importance of community.
This is the fourth year NAG and the People’s Firehouse Inc. have been raising money to build the much-anticipated Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center, which will be housed in the historic Engine 212 Firehouse on Wythe Avenue by next year. The center will be permanent nesting grounds for the two organizations, which have served as social buoys for Greenpoint and Williamsburg over the past few decades, pointing residents toward local grassroots advocacy, environmental justice, affordable housing development and outreach programs — to name a few.
All proceeds from Taste, in conjunction with a series of other charity events, will go directly to the firehouse’s renovation and the center’s construction. Of all the fundraising benefits, Kirby says Taste is their “proudest one.” So far, they’ve raised just over a $1 million.
“Taste is a fabulous opportunity for all of us to give back to our community,” said Kirby. “This is the least we can do to support democratic participation as well as encourage arts and culture in the neighborhood.”
Also on the menu for Sunday are performances from DJs Jonathan Toubin and Queen Majesty. They’ll be adding to an ambience already set by the pristine Manhattan skyline. And as North Brooklynites (and a growing percentage of Manhattanites) know from the wildly popular Smorgasburg, the location is no stranger to finger foods — or the thousands of New York gluttons who pass through East River State Park every weekend. But Kirby says Taste is distinguishable in probably the most important of ways.
“It’s the level of collaboration between community, nonprofits and business leaders under one umbrella,” she said. “We’re unique in the commitment, going into our fourth year.”
But as the Northside Town Hall Board is inching closer to fulfilling its budget for the community and cultural center, the future of Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint is up in the air. Kirby says 2013 may be its concluding year, but she certainly hopes not.
Tickets are on sale at www.tastewg.com. They range anywhere from $25-$50 and cover different meal and drink packages. The festival is rain or shine, and as a courtesy to fellow festival-goers, leave the pets at home.
Taste Williamsburg Greenpoint is this Sunday, Sept. 22, from 1 to 6 p.m. at the East River State Park.
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