The opening event for the monthly Bronx Night Market took place Saturday, June 28th at Fordham Plaza. This free entry, open-air festival is a collaborative endeavor between Edible Bronx and BLOX featuring local artisans, merchants and music performers from throughout the borough, with some from across the river (we saw you Harlem!). With over 35 vendors in attendance on what felt like a record scorcher day, locals and those who braved non-air-conditioned subway trains (I invited two friends from Queens...their love was real!) had the chance to experience some of what makes up the Bronx’s thriving food culture. Popular vendor booths included Empanology, Next Stop Vegan, and The Bronx Beer Hall. Save for ice cream vendors Creme and Cocoa Creamery, Scoops In Cahoots, and my personal favorite, Tripla Panna Ice Cream, attendees enjoyed live musical sets from Anthony Anderson and DJ Bronxura and had the opportunity to purchase merchandise from local businesses such as The Bronx Native and The Tea Factor.
I wouldn’t go as far to say that the market showcases all the diversity of food culture in the Bronx, yet I am excited to see what the vendor make-up of the market will reflect throughout the remainder of the summer. The size of this borough is awe-inspiring to me, and yet can often times overwhelm people and their perception of all the things the Bronx truly has to offer, including good food. As someone who has traveled more than an hour for a meal (and yes it was worth it!), the Bronx Night Market, however, provides a unique opportunity to bring two important groups together: the Bronx consumer, and the Bronx business owner. It’s not uncommon for many Bronx locals to travel outside of the borough to satisfy hungry bellies and curious palettes, whether it be for Saturday brunch or a casual dinner date. With the majority of the borough working on the island, we forget that there is a trail of money that makes its way back uptown, eager to be spent on amenities such as wining and dining, as well as supporting all other things local. Bronx natives are hungry. We, too, like our Brooklyn and Queens brethren, like to eat, like to be able to spend our weekends close to home, like to be able to spend our money close to home. The Bronx Night Market serves as a reminder to consider all the options here within the borough before hopping on the subway to the others, to continue to give our home a chance and to push ourselves to be curious about what’s going on in our own backyard (or whatever is synonymous to a yard because I don’t know too many people who have front and backyards).
If the turn out from the first event is indicative of attendance at future market nights, organizers may want to reconsider other location options! It was one of the few events I have attended this summer where I witnessed a merging of various Bronx communities in a single location. Of course, proximity to a major public transportation hub and subway lines contribute to Fordham Plaza being a rather reasonable setting, including its vicinity to local commerce along Fordham Road, Arthur Avenue roughly a ten-minute walk away, and nearby local attractions such as the Bronx Zoo and Bronx Botanical Gardens. One can make a whole day’s outing simply touring along this main strip.
In any case, I reserve whatever criticisms I have, as this effort to unify the Bronx community through the celebration of food and local artisanal and entrepreneurial commerce deserves an applause. If you missed out on the opening event, be sure to be there on July 28th at 1 Fordham Plaza.
For more information visit: www.thebronxnightmarket.com/
Remember: support local, but more importantly, support home.