7th annual Taste Williamsburg/Greenpoint featured more than 50 of North Brooklyn’s best eating and drinking establishments. This “Food Fest of North Brooklyn’s Best” is a community culinary benefit with its proceeds going to build the a community and cultural center from the shuttered Engine Co. 212 firehouse on Wythe Ave between N8th and N9th Street. The Firehouse North Brooklyn Community Center once built will be a 3-floor foothold for culture and civic engagement. Plus it will be home to two long time community-based nonprofits, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth & People’s Firehouse Inc., who were awarded site control of the property.
The weather was nearly perfect for this year’s TASTE; the only flaw being the occasional breeze that whisked away unballasted paper napkins, cups, and plates. “The special event allows us to unite our residents and businesses in celebration of food and charity. With [our friends and sponsors’] support, we’re able to improve a center for a neighborhood we love,” said Felice Kirby, Vice President of The Firehouse North Brooklyn Community Center.
The ticket holders received a booklet filled with “Good for One Taste” coupons to be redeemed for delicious delectables aimed to satisfy sweet or savory appetites. For the thirsty: soft drinks like Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, hot stuff like Grumpy Coffee, plus wine and hard liquor (with a variety of mixers) were on tap for a ticket.
There were newbies to TASTE like Nitehawk Cinema and veterans like Brooklyn Cupcake and Teddy’s Bar & Grill. The latter has participated at TASTE from the start and was serving pork braised chili, skillet cornbread, kale slaw, and a ricotta donut bites with praline sauce. All establishments participating when asked: what brings them to TASTE answered that it’s a great way to connect with the community plus it is for a good cause.
In addition to digestible attractions, the Firehouse Community tent was there “Bringing community, culture, and the arts together under one roof.” Firehouse Board Member, Evan Thies said the community tent is an essential element of TASTE. He also mentioned that an added goal was to get the new name of the community center — The Firehouse | North Brooklyn Community Center — clearly in the minds of the public.
To fulfill the cultural aspect, a tent at the front served as stage for performers and presenters that ranged from dance students from Williamsburg Movement & Arts Center to a coffee roasting tutorial.
If all that eating made you sleepy, you could take a nap. Casper brought a trailer divided into sleeping lofts.
This year’s TASTE attracted 1500–1700 people and 80 participants, many who come from the outer boroughs and New Jersey. The combined donations from the community, the City Council, Borough President, and the State, have put the Firehouse closer to a construction date. When asked if they will keep the iconic look of Engine Co.212, Thies said, “The guts and character of the building will be permanent and adapted for public use.”
If you wish to support the The Firehouse| North Brooklyn Community Center find the donate page on their website: http://www.nthccc.org