Monday, October 11, 2010

Limelight Marketplace & Eataly

Recently I was in NYC on business.  I went up a day early to check out some of the latest retail and other interesting things happening in the city.  I like to keep up with new NYC trends for the consulting business, and although many of them do not relate to AJ Barnes, the ones that do provide me good blog entries.  I had my day planned out, but unfortunately the weather and Delta did not cooperate.  So, after several cancellations and delays, my free time to explore the new and most current was significantly reduced.  

However, I was able to make it over to the Limelight Marketplace, which was the first on my list.  I had heard a lot about this new project.  The Limelight is an old Episcopal church at 6th and 20th in Chelsea.  During the late 70’s it was a notorious nightclub.  In 2001it was shut down due to excessive drug use, but resurrected itself a couple of times until it finally closed for good in mid 2007.  I was there once during one of it’s resurrections in the late 1980’s when I was in my early 20’s.  I remember being on the center of the dance floor looking up at the stained glass windows of the church dancing under a huge cross.  Across from me was this crazy women who could barely be considered an acquaintance of mine (but that night we were best friends) and some guy she had picked up who claimed to be a Middle Eastern prince.  There were drag queens to the left, Chelsea boys to the right, bridge and tunnels behind, and straight upper Westsiders in front – all dancing under Jesus.  It was so perfectly wrong. 

This photo credit:  Lidrado Romero/New York Times

Very recently the old church has been revamped into what was supposed to be one of New York’s new hip shopping destinations.  I was hoping to have some great pics to share and talk about how interesting it was.  But it’s not!  I could explain why, but honestly it’s not worth my time other than to say it’s product mix is simply not relevant to the neighborhood and the new design is choppy and trying way to hard.  But it was interesting to be there and stand in the same place on what was the dance floor and look up again at the stained glass windows.  The windows and all the historic church detail was mandated to remain in tact and the new shiny retail environment was applied over it.  So if you are in NYC, do not waste your time at Limelight Marketplace.  Besides, I doubt it will be open long. 

This photo credit:  Victria Will/New York Post

However, far more interesting and more appropriate to this blog is Eataly. It is just a short few block walk up and over to Broadway and 23rd Street.  This huge new gourmet market was opened by celebrity chef Mario Batali, his business partner Joe Bastianich and his mother Lydia Matticchio.  I’ve never cared much for Mario Batali.  I like his food, but he makes me nervous and I’m over those orange crocs, cargo shorts, and chef’s jacket he always wears.  I believe everyone needs a signature look, but just make sure your look is more than one outfit!  But, Lydia reached Goddess like status in our house years ago. And, I like Joe, who was on the recent TV show ‘Master Chef’ with that awful Gordon Ramsay. (I know, I know, I need to do a better job about being more open with my opinions.) 

The space doesn’t try to be some architectural marvel like the Limelight.  Instead, the space itself fades into the background and the product and offerings create the environment.  It’s a gourmet market place, restaurant, take out, meeting place, and retail environment.  Eataly has everything from a coffee shop, wine bar, fresh seafood, beautiful vegetables, housewares, bakery, meat counter, and every package product you can imagine.  My favorite was the mozzarella bar!  If you love great food, want to have a great meal or especially if you categorize yourself as a foodie, GO.  It will be there, no matter when you visit the city! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tip on the Limelight...I was planning to go this December. I already have Eataly on my list and am looking forward to it. Your story about the Limelight reminds me of two hysterical episodes there in the early 80's. Whoa...


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