Taste of Times Square 2019
For many native New Yorkers, Times Square is a neighborhood that’s become synonymous with words like tourist trap, overcrowding, and general mayhem. Most New Yorkers are in agreement that it’s an area to be avoided at all costs and that “real” New Yorkers never go there. But anyone who attended this year’s Taste of Times Square event would beg to differ. They would tell you that some of the city’s culinary gems have been hiding in plain sight in an area where, most New Yorkers can count on one hand the number of times they’ve visited.
If you’re not familiar, Taste of Times Square is an annual outdoor food and music festival where area restaurants showcase their tastiest bites while local musicians create the evening’s soundtrack. The festival, now in its 25th year, had thousands of attendees this past Monday.
I first attended the Taste of Times Square about 6 years ago when I was living in Hell’s Kitchen and stumbled upon it as I was walking in the area. Since then, it’s become an annual tradition of mine to stop by and nosh on all the delectable offerings. This year, I partnered with the Times Square Alliance, who were gracious enough to provide me with some taste tickets for the event. I tried everything from Burger and Lobster’s Lobster Roll to Korean Chicken Wings from Friedman’s. I washed it all down in the Beer Garden with Not Your Father’s Lemonade, a light refreshing lemon-flavored beer.
Although I’ve lived in the city for over a decade, this year’s Taste was an eye-opening experience that gave me a new perspective on the area. Instead of worrying about the tourists blocking the sidewalks, I was focused on the community of business owners who just wanted to spread joy through their food. They were eager to share their best dishes and make lasting connections with customers old and new. I also saw a group of talented performers who wanted to share their gifts with the community. But most importantly, I got to witness the undeniable, unifying magic of food that brought perfect strangers from all over New York City to the crossroads of the world.