Harlem Foodies to Launch Festival in 2015

May 20, 2014

Bill-de-Blasio,-Bill-Clinton,-Marcus-Samuelsson.jpg&q=80&MaxW=640&imageversion=widescreen&maxh=360Business owners from Harlem’s burgeoning food and drink scene will join forces next year to stage a festival to showcase the neighborhood’s culture, officials announced Tuesday.

Spearheaded by celebrity chef and Red Rooster owner Marcus Samuelsson, food festival guru Herb Karlitz and Tren’ness Woods-Black, granddaughter of the late restaurateur Sylvia Woods, the “Harlem EatUp!” festival will be held over three days in May 2015.

On Tuesday, the three were joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, former President Bill Clinton (who famously moved his office to Harlem in 2001) and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at Red Rooster to unveil the new venture.

“I’m just a neighbor here,” Mr. Clinton said. “We’re very excited for this.”

The former president said the festival will lift up the neighborhood with permanent benefits for residents.

Mr. de Blasio spoke of linking Harlem’s storied past with its more gentrified present through the festival.

“I remember my mother and her sisters talking about the Harlem of 1930s and ’40s with a sense of magic in their voice,” he said. “It’s one of the quintessential New York City neighborhoods.”

The planners are currently searching for corporate sponsors to help underwrite the event. EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, has already pledged $250,000.

The event will draw tourists, as well as create jobs, Mr. Samuelsson predicted.

“This will create thousands and thousands of jobs,” he said.

Mr. Samuelsson was joined by fellow celebrity chefs Aarón Sanchez and Daniel Boulud at the announcement. Both will be involved in helping to promote the festival.

The city is currently awash in food festivals, including the Food Network-sponsored New York Food and Wine event in October. The Brooklyn-based Great Googa Mooga Festival was discontinued after criticism of the two-day event’s impact on Prospect Park.

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