April 14, 2010
On Saturday, April 10, 2010 nearly 50 alumni and friends
participated in the Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District Food
Tasting and Culture Tour, the most recent event in the popular Arts
and Enrichment Series sponsored by the Office of Alumni
Relations. The Arts and Enrichment Series offers alumni
access to a variety of unique cultural, entertainment, travel and
sporting events in a variety of exciting locations.
After assembling at the Chelsea Wine Vault, the group toured
Chelsea Market, the Meatpacking District and the new Highline Park,
the first elevated park in the United States. It is built on a
1.45-mile-long elevated rail structure that was once a freight rail
line carrying meat to the Meatpacking District and agricultural
goods to the factories and warehouses of the industrial West
The group discovered the unique history of many of the retailers
in the area, including a variety of esoteric facts about the
buildings and the process that led to their conversion from actual
meatpacking plants to some of New York City's hippest art galleries
and fashionable restaurants. They also learned that businesses
relocating into the renovated Chelsea Market are required to be
family-owned and willing to give behind-the-scenes tours of how
their food is actually prepared.
Chelsea Market contains a number of historic artifacts from the
bygone days of New York City, such as the copper doors from the
former Gimbel's Department Store.
A highlight of the event was the opportunity to enjoy samples of
food from a variety of the area's most popular restaurants and
shops, including fresh buttermilk biscuits from Sarabeth's Bakery,
an assortment of seafood soups from The Lobster Place, gourmet
cheese and pear chutney from Chelsea Market Baskets and gourmet
chocolate milk from Ronny Brook Milk Bar.
Alumni were grateful for the chance to experience an area that
has played such an important role in the evolution of New York
City. "The tour was a lot of fun," said Dina Castner '09CPS. "It
was my first time visiting Chelsea Market. Highline Park was a
great experience and I'm planning to come back and visit again this
summer. It's great of St. John's to
offer unique trips like this."
"I had a wonderful time sampling delicious foods and desserts that
delighted my palate," agreed Cathy Shuemate '74C. "Our guide,
Cindy, was entertaining and gave us a wealth of information about
the history of the market. A thoroughly delightful time!"
For many alumni, the tour was very different from their usual
activities, and they were hopeful that St. John's would offer
similar events in the future. "My friends and I loved the tour,"
said Christine Trabulsi '86L. "It was a great experience and we
would really love to do something like this again."