An Indoor Food-Truck Court, High Above Manhattan

Glenn Collins reports on what has to be the most innovative, and convenient, food-truck location in the country, the vertical food-truck court in the top floors of the 81-year-old, 19-story Starrett-Lehigh Building in West Chelsea.
May 1, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Serving the 5,000 people who work in the Starrett-Lehigh building and approximately 1,000 daily visitors, the city's first vertical food-truck court was established by RXR Realty, the building's owner, to overcome the "paucity of lunchtime choices in the neighborhood, an industrial-looking stretch west of the High Line, between 11th and 12th Avenues."

The ability of the building to host such a gathering is no accident. "The fortresslike building, with its robust floor plates and concrete bays, was designed to bring supply trucks directly up to a congeries of production, storage and repackaging companies, for deliveries and exports. Now, most of the industrial tenants have departed in favor of advertising and design firms, as well as Martha Stewart Living, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger."

"The result is something like an elevator ride in a department store imagined by Willie Wonka. The other day on the 12th floor, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream was hawking its Michel Cluizel chocolate cones ($4). On Floor 15, the Treats Truck was dispensing its Chocolate Trucker Sandwich Cookies ($1.75) and the occasional Kitchen Sink Crispy ($3). On 17, Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches was selling its decidedly vertical Three-Story concoctions - two scoops of ice cream served between two cookies ($9)."

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Published on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in The New York Times
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