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Madison Square Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, March 17, 2004

SPECIAL SAUCE TO MAKE SUMMER DEBUT IN MADISON SQUARE PARK


With Blue Smoke, he brought one of the best BBQ joints to New York City, and now Danny Meyer is bringing another American tradition into the heart of Manhattan while also adding an amenity to historic Madison Square Park. On Wednesday, March 10, Parks & Recreation officials and friends gathered in Madison Square Park to announce plans for a new food kiosk scheduled to open early this summer. Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe made the announcement and unveiled a model of the kiosk, alongside Debbie Landau, President of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, and Danny Meyer, restaurateur and President of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), which will run the kiosk.

The Shake Shack will feature a menu of hot dogs, hamburgers, frozen custards, and beverages. The environmentally-friendly and aesthetically distinctive building was designed by James Wines of Site Architecture, and the signage was designed by Pentagram. The structure’s design, demonstrated by the model, is harmonious with the park and its surrounding architecture and features a sloping, planted ivy roof. At the announcement, the clear skies allowed the sun to directly hit the scale model of the restaurant, making it easy to imagine how the actual eatery would fit into the surroundings.

"Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce this newest addition to Madison Square Park," said Commissioner Benepe. "This new kiosk joins a spectacular collection of outdoor art, a fun-filled playground, and beautiful landscaping. That the Madison Square Park Conservancy is opening the kiosk is a shining example of what public-private partnerships can achieve in our parks."

"With the new Shake Shack, New Yorkers and tourists now have one more great reason to visit Madison Square Park," said Debbie Landau. "It has been so exciting to see the transformation of Madison Square Park over the last six years, and we are thrilled to partner with Danny Meyer and USHG, some of the park’s most passionate supporters, on this project."

"We are delighted to be able to support the Madison Square Park Conservancy with the new Shake Shack and hope it will bring together people from all walks of life to enjoy delicious burgers, hot dogs, and shakes," said Danny Meyer. The inspiration for the kiosk, he explained, came from the classic roadside food joints across America.

To help illustrate his plans, Meyer offered a tasting of a few menu items. Many of those in attendance tried samples of the burger and hotdog, both deliciously garnished. The frozen custards, a variation on the milkshake, were also available to all. One bite of the burger made it easy to imagine the kiosk becoming an instant hit.

The Parks Department issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in July 2003 for the construction of a food kiosk and the operation and maintenance of a café in Madison Square Park. After reviewing all proposals received, the concession was awarded to the Madison Square Park Conservancy, in conjunction with the Union Square Hospitality Group. The term is for nine years. The kiosk’s $750,000 budget is being funded exclusively from private philanthropic donations, including major contributions from Met Life, New York Life, and Union Square Hospitality Group.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"... a country encapsulates our childhood and those lanes, byres, fields, flowers, insects, suns, moons and stars are forever reoccurring."

Edna O’Brien

From Mother Ireland, 1976

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