Food

Limelight Marketplace: Jesus Is Coming Back, and He’s Pissed!

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Despite being thrown out of the church in favor of the false god Mammon, Jesus still surveys the scene with a skeptical eye at Limelight Marketplace.

Walk in the front door and a wave of stink assails you–the compacted smells of a half-dozen narrow stalls specializing in overpriced perfumes, soaps, and other stinkum, a chokingly sweet odor that’s familiar from every shopping mall in the U.S.

Abandon all hope of either good taste or bargains ye who enter here.

Next be confronted by masses of clueless tourists, munching on cupcakes and smashing into each other like atoms in a cyclotron in the hopelessly crowded space. Sometimes, forward progress seems impossible as shoppers clog the narrow passageways and catwalks that the real estate developers have managed to leave after renting every available square inch. There is virtually no place to sit down, no place to linger, no place for seniors to power walk or mall teens to preen and show off – a suburban mall devoid of anything that makes such a place entertaining.

It would be impossible to make Limelight Marketplace look less like the Chelsea we know and love.

You, hapless pilgrim, have entered the new Limelight Marketplace, an upscale shopping mall artlessly and irreligiously wedged into a 160-year old gothic Episcopal church of great architectural distinction, filling it with shockingly white balconies, narrow hanging passageways, and silver-flocked wallpaper, forms of glitz so superficial that only the most gullible will be dazzled. It’s so totally a mall for rubes. On the gala opening day last Friday, the place was filled with a profusion of flowers, as if the church were being forced to attend its own funeral.

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Here’s the kind of luxury goods purveyor you can expect to find at Limelight Marketplace.

We were promised that a substantial portion of the mall would be devoted to food usages, and it must be admitted that that pledge has been kept. Of the 48 enterprises listed on the directory, including two restaurants that have yet to open, fully 20 represent culinary endeavors.

An example of one of the high-toned products available at the mall’s chocolatiers — just the type of sophisticated gift to honor your female college grads. Look! There’s French writing on it, too!

I was afraid that the place might suck patrons from Chelsea Market – which is just bouncing back from a fallow spell – and the Union Square Greenmarket, which has been suffering gradual decline for the last couple of years. I needn’t have worried. Apart from a space devoted to a small selection of kitchenware; a tiny stall flinging Petrossian caviar; and a relatively large but under-stocked market given over to cheese, charcuterie, and bread; the vast majority of these businesses are dedicated to delivering sweet indulgences to the shoppers. The names alone are enough to make you hurl: Wannahavacookie, The Little Candy Cake Company, It’Sugar, Butterfly Bakeshop, and Cupcake Stop.

An imitation farmers’ market. Why not take home a local pineapple?

In an outdoor courtyard on the south side of the church is an imitation farmers’ market called Peak Season Market. I overheard a shopper asking a mall employee if the produce were local. “Oh yes, replied the employee. Almost all of our produce is locally grown.” Hmmm, I thought to myself, surveying racks of pineapples, oranges, green peppers, eggplants, and bananas. At Limelight Marketplace, it seems there’s a sucker born every minute.

New Chelsea shopping mall, or set for the movie Eyes Wide Shut?

Before being retrofitted as a mall, the place was a club called Limelight, notorious for the behavior of its attendees, who could be seen snorting coke in the stairwells and fornicating in the bathroom stalls. How much more interesting that was than the banal and boring evil of Limelight Marketplace.

Next: More photos, if you can stand ’em.

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Let’s do the math: $7.99 (plus tax) for 5 ounces of leftover Halloween candy. That works out to just a little over $25 a pound.

And the Lord declared: There shall be no shortage of cupcakes in my house.

And yet more cupcakes, these slightly more sophisticated since there’s no frosting on the sides.

And while these might not actually be cupcakes — they sure look like cupcakes.

You will even find treats for your dog.

At least there’s room to roam around in the home furnishings store — not sure I want that stuff in my apartment, though.