A stone's throw from the FDR, a stalled construction site has been put to good use as a lush farm growing produce for Tom Colicchio's restaurant Riverpark, on East 29th Street. In operation since last month, the farm is currently boasting over 100 different types of vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and yielding dozens of varieties of fresh produce for the restaurant. Most of the plants began their life at Wilklow Orchards in the Hudson Valley and were shipped down to the garden, which is built on a series of movable milk crates.
Currently a construction fence blocks off the site from public view, but next month the fence will come down, when the garden will also host private chef's table dinners. To create the garden, Riverpark partnered with the Alexandria Center for Life Science, which owns the property, where construction was temporarily suspended "due to the unprecedented worldwide financial crisis of recent years." As of last month, there were over 600 stalled construction sites reported by the New York City Department of Buildings, so its great to see at least one of them being put to good use.
And if the fumes from the nearby FDR give you pause, the farm's adviser, Michael Robertson of Grady's Farm upstate, tells Grub Street the greens are harvested at "no more than four days old, so they're baby greens ... we're not just growing willy-nilly." He adds, "Being so close to the river, we get a good amount of wind. It’s a lot of fresh air, circulation of air." There are over 6,000 plants currently growing on 15,000 square feet of garden, which will remain in operation at least through next spring.