Pix from the Fringes of the New York City Wine & Food Festival


The most frightening part of the festival was certainly the pumpkin Guy Fieri.

This last weekend from Thursday through Sunday, Chelsea Market was the epicenter of a welter of classes, demonstrations, personal appearances, food seminars, and frenetic promotional activities that were part of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. It was sponsored by the Food Network, Food & Wine, and Travel & Leisure, in addition to dozens of subsidiary sponsors. The festival included nearly 130 events, with pricetags (for those who couldn’t cadge guest-list privileges) of $10 to $500. All the predictable food personalities fell into line, from Rachel Ray to Guy Fieri, including several local chefs.

As a person who approaches such festivals with a yawn, I still got a kick out of noting the peripheral doings as I passed and repassed the festival grounds (the Meat Packing District) frequently over the long weekend. Here is my photo diary of the festival’s free, non-ticketed fringes.

The slogan emblazoned on the chef’s hats during the Sunday morning children’s cooking class made it seem more like “Lord of the Flies” than a seminar on cupcakes.

Italian coffee maker Illy set up an impromtu coffee shop on the cobbles of Gansevoort Street.

Coca-Cola profferred their corn-syrup swill in jazzy metal bottles. For free! Better send this picture in to

Even Buick saw an opportunity, scoring the prestigious position of official pace car of the festival. You could have at least pasted the sign on straight, fellas!

Temporary festival signage loomed over Ninth Avenue, with the faces of the Holy Trinity presented for the worship of plebian passersby. Alton’s fierce gaze served as a reminder for drivers to get off their cell phones.

Old Homestead got into the act, pushing a grill out onto the sidewalk and flogging their kobe beef sliders, two for $9, to the passing throngs.

The expensive sliders looked good, but the beef patties cooked up dry and mealy.

A small demonstration garden sponsored by the Food Network, among others, broadcast the plaintive message Feed Kids Better. In the context of the festival, that meant filling them full of cupcakes and cokes. The “garden” was all potted vegetables, and was gone the next day.