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New York City: Visit Eataly and Limelight

Recently in New York I made two terrific discoveries in the Union Square area. This is a pretty hip and cool part of town, a bit far from the major tourist destinations.  More of a real neighborhood, I think.

The first Hot Spot is a 50,000 square foot Italian Culinary Funhouse.  Man. Is it great.  If you like Italian (and I do) and you like to eat, look at food, talk about food and learn about food (and I do), I’d suggest you get yourself down to this destination for foodies on 5th Avenue between 23rd and 24th street. It’s called Eataly.

Now, don’t be mislead. The entrance on the Fifth Avenue side is small.  A first I thought we might be going to a coffee shop.  No way.  While just in side there’s coffee, cappuccino and gelato, but keep moving…unless you need one of these tasty treats.

Once you move into the sprawling space you will find wine tasting bar, chickens roasting, gorgeous fish display, bakery, cooking school, meat market, multiple places to eat from the casual pizza parlor to the white table cloth restaurant.

At Eataly you  can buy Italian cookbooks, cookware and great products from Italy conveniently  placed along side an Italian bank ATM and lots of dry goods.  Did I forget to mention wine? It’s there too.

I was sorry we weren’t renting an apartment in New York.  If we were, I would have stocked up on the gorgeous baby veggies, cheeses, home made pasta, you name it. It’s here in this Italian grocery store.

Mama Mia,  it is much more than a market, Eataly is an Experience with a capital E.

The day we were in NYC there was a torrential down pour so we didn’t go on the roof to the beer garden.  Saving that for another trip.

The other “great find” is the Limelight Marketplace at 20th and 6th Avenue. More mature (as in old) Hipsters will recall that this was the site of the Limelight Club—a spot where folks danced, parties, drank, did drugs and generally had a grand old time.

What is interesting about it is that it is an old church—once the Church of the Holy Communion where Gilded Age titans like Cornelius Vanderbilt said their prayers.

In the 1970s, the church became a drug rehab center and ironically ten years later a wild club with strobe lights and all kinds of decadence.

Well, times have changed (again) and now it is a shopper’s Mecca scented with lavender candles.  Sixty pop up style shops and places to eat have been shoehorned into this space creatively.  If I hadn’t been so interested in the architecture and how  the warren of shops all fit together I probably could have completed my holiday shopping right on the spot.

Limelight Marketplace has the feel of a craft fair but the prices are definitely not street savvy. Expect to find the gamut of goods ranging from deep pocket shopping to  a myriad of fun little pick up items.  I had a hard time finding a theme or point of view other than the dramatic and interesting space. Worth a visit just for that.

Whether you are looking for a palace of posh or total nuttiness, you’ll find it at the Limelight Marketplace.  Better get there before this old church building re-invents itself again.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Rabbit Reporter
    Dec 12, 2010 Reply

    Look amazing! I’ll have to try and stop by next time I’m in NY. =)

  2. posted by
    New York City: Have a Foodie Holiday | DesignDestinations
    Dec 16, 2010 Reply

    […] DesignDestinations Exploring Design Destinations Skip to content HomeAboutFavorite PhotosIzzyLife Story ← New York City: Two Discoveries […]

  3. posted by
    Mar 17, 2011 Reply

    quick question: where in Limelight is that white room in one of your pictures? I’ve never seen it before.

  4. posted by
    Mar 17, 2011 Reply

    It was on the second floor, tucked away at one end. Seemed like we had to go down a hall way, maybe even up an few more stores to get to it. Actually several rooms. Quite stunning.

  5. posted by
    Don’t Miss Eataly in Chicago | DesignDestinations
    Feb 24, 2014 Reply

    […] one in New York (click here to read about) and more in the works.  Enjoy these photos of our first, but I’m sure not last , trip to Eataly […]

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