Taste of Tribeca Cancelled Amid Cascade of Coronavirus Closings

Duane Street was packed last year for the 25th anniversary of the Taste of Tribeca. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Mar. 15, 2020

For the first time in its 25 years, Taste of Tribeca, the neighborhood institution and major fundraiser for two local schools, will not go on.

On Sunday, organizers of the mega-food festival, publicly announced their decision to suspend the May 16 event amid the growing coronavirus health crisis and cascading closure of businesses and institutions, including the schools. What may now seem inevitable was anything but when the Taste’s organizers, along with their board, made the call, said Christine Cole, who co-chairs the P.S. 234 and P.S.150 benefit along with Andrea Flamenco and Emma Parsons.

“When we made the decision it was prior to the decision to close Broadway and gatherings of 500 or more, and the decision by bigger New York City restaurants to close,” said Cole, the mother of a P.S. 234 3rd grader who has owned and run restaurants for some 20 years. “I guess we feel more confident in the decision given that the people are following suit, but it was such a difficult one.”

“We hated to take away this community event for the restaurants,” she continued. “Yes, the money goes to the schools but it’s also a great celebration of Tribeca businesses and restaurants. So that was one reason the decision was so difficult.”

Cole said the organizers are giving event sponsors the choice of rolling over their financial support to next year, refunding it, or donating the money to the schools. “Amazingly,” she said, “the first person we asked, Citibank, immediately donated it to the schools. So that’s really helpful.”

If it’s deemed safe, a modified Taste of Tribeca may still take place at the end of the school year, or before the start of the next one, Cole said. One option being considered is an event in the P.S. 234 school yard, with 20 or so restaurants represented. 

“If that’s still not prudent to do we’d just do everything we can to support our restaurants we think are safe,” Cole said, “whether that’s take out or buying gift certificates to use some day.” 

“We’re trying to come up with some ideas,” she added,  “and then spread the word in the community.”