IMG_6846
For the fourth year in a row, Gramercy Neighborhood Associates will be hosting its acclaimed Taste of Gramercy Neighborhood. Taste Of Gramercy Neighborhood was started to promote local businesses and introduce residents of New York City to the wonderful array of food that Gramercy has to offer. Taking place between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Saturday, Sept. 24, this year’s event will be hosting on Irving Place between 17th and 18th Street.

This year’s vendors include BLT Prime, The Smith, Paul & Jimmy’s, Ainsworth Park, Bedford Cheese, and Casa Neta. Beyond the food and drink offerings on-site, there will also be raffled items from the likes of Tory Burch, Beecher’s Cheese, CYC Fitness, and Baked By Melissa. Sponsors making this event happen include conEdison, Breads Bakery, Vita Coco, and Farm2me. As GNA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, this year’s event will also keep up TOGN’s tradition of helping out some great causes.

Antonella Napolitano, Treasurer of Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, spoke to Downtown about this year’s event and plenty more. Advance tickets and other info about Taste Of Gramercy Neighborhood can be found at www.gnaonline.org.

Antonella Napolitano, Treasurer of GNA
Antonella Napolitano, Treasurer of GNA

How would you describe the Taste Of Gramercy Neighborhood event to someone that hasn’t yet attended it?

Antonella Napolitano: A fun and social event that gives attendees the opportunity to explore the wonderful array of food that Gramercy has to offer while contributing to a charitable cause. The event showcases some of Gramercy’s top restaurants and profits go to benefit healthy meal programs at local public schools, including P.S. 40 and School of the Future. In addition, all leftover food will go to feed the homeless via the Bowery Mission.

How does this year’s event to compare to the first year that Taste Of Gramercy was done?

AN: TOGN has grown significantly over the years. The festival features more restaurants, more product sponsors who provide free goods to ticket holders, a lot more media attention and activity. This has translated in more attendees each year. Due to continued demand from restaurants, we are hoping to expand to two blocks on Irving Place for the 2017 event.

Taste Of Gramercy Neighborhood
Taste Of Gramercy Neighborhood

Aside from this festival, what else is coming up for Gramercy Neighborhood Associates?

AN: We have our annual green market rescue in Union Square in partnership with City Harvest on Sept. 10. In November and December, we participate in a holiday project in conjunction with Epiphany Parish, where for the eighth year in a row we will organize a gift-giving program for the homebound. We will also be participating in the Daily News Food Drive, whereby in partnership with Daily News, NYPD and FDNY, GNA collects non-perishable food to stock shelves at 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other community food programs across the city.

Is there something that you wish more people knew about Gramercy Neighborhood Associates?

AN: GNA was founded over 100 years ago in 1912 and is one of the oldest community groups in New York City. We started as a landmarking organization and in the 1990s, GNA fostered the creation of the East 17th Street/Irving Place Historic District and the extension of the Gramercy Park Historic District. GNA also worked with other coalitions on the landmarking of Scheffel Hall, Union Square Savings Bank, Century Association Club House, Russell Sage Foundation, the Guardian Life Building and former Tammany Hall.

GNA has also funded the publication of two books on Gramercy history: Gramercy: Its Architectural Surroundings by Andrew Scott Dolkart and Gramercy Park: An Illustrated History Of A New York Neighborhood by Stephen Garmey.

When not busy with the Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, how do you like to spend your free time?

AN: When not busy with GNA or at work, I spend time with family and friends — and my dog!