Dine Around Downtown returns for 13th year

Updated: 2014-10-01 06:53

By JACK FREIFELDER in New York(China Daily USA)

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New York City is no stranger to the scurry of the daily lunch rush, but a community development organization in Downtown Manhattan is hoping the return of a food festival will get people to try new culinary delights in a different section of the Big Apple.

On Tuesday, the Alliance for Downtown New York hosted the 13th edition of Dine Around Downtown, a food festival of restaurants based in Lower Manhattan, and about 15,000 people attended the event, according to the Alliance.

This year's event, which was emceed by Food Network celebrity TV host Aarti Sequeira with live music from the National Jazz Museum in Harlem All-Stars, featured 42 vendors, including two restaurants from Shanghai (Lu Bo Lang and Nanxiang Steamed Bun).

Dine Around Downtown returned to One Chase Manhattan Plaza on Tuesday after a three-year hiatus due to construction. The event was co-hosted by Fosun International Ltd and the Alliance.

Bo Wei, Fosun International's chief US representative, said that this year's event marked the first time Fosun has worked with the Downtown Alliance on the festival since the company acquired One Chase Manhattan Plaza last year. Fosun International, the investment branch of the larger Fosun Group, agreed to purchase the 60-story office tower from JPMorgan Chase & Co in December 2013 for $725 million.

Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin said thousands of visitors to this year's installment of Dine Around Downtown proves "that we are redefining dining in Lower Manhattan".

Dine Around Downtown returns for 13th year

A guest surveys offerings from Chinese participants on Tuesday in New York at the 13th edition of Dine Around Downtown, a food festival hosted in Downtown Manhattan. Lu Bo Lang Restaurant and Nanxiang Steamed Bun Restaurant (left of display) were among more than 40 participants at this year’s event, and the Shanghai-based eateries prepared two Chinese delicacies for patrons — steamed buns (also known as xiaolongbao) and sticky rice cake with osmanthus. JACK FREIFELDER / CHINA DAILY

"We have [more than] 40 restaurants from Downtown Manhattan here today, including the all-stars who have been flown in from Shanghai," Lappin said as part of the event's opening remarks. "There are endless exciting options, so I hope you all came hungry."

Lappin said that the companies involved in the event are really "just the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to culinary diversity of New York.

"No matter what corner of the culinary map New Yorkers are seeking out, they can find it downtown," Lappin said.

Bo, of Fosun International, said one of the things he found most interesting about the food festival was the variety of offerings.

"Italian food, Mexican food, French food, South American food, and Chinese food, this food festival really rocks," Bo said through a translator during a speech at the event. "New York is a great city with a high tolerance for different food and different cultures. You may be the white-collar working professional, or you could be a tourist just passing by, but we all have a language in common — the language of taste and food."

Fosun Group, founded in 1992, is China's largest privately held industrial conglomerate with investments in pharmaceuticals, properties and the steel industry. The company's headquarters is in Shanghai and it has a workforce of more than 35,000 employees worldwide.

The Downtown Alliance, which oversees and manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District (BID), works to improve the greater community by providing comprehensive research on Downtown Manhattan, as well as advice on marketing and outreach efforts.

The goal of the Downtown Alliance, according to the organization's website, is to turn Lower Manhattan in a vibrant, multi-use neighborhood.