It takes a long time to shake off a tagline like “The Bronx Is Burning,” but the Boogie Down Borough has definitely turned a corner from the bad old days of the 1970s.
Signs of growth are absolutely everywhere in the borough — literally. Between 2010 and 2017, the Bronx was the fastest-growing county in all of New York state with a population of 1.47 million people. High-profile developers who used to give the borough a wide berth have been planning and putting up towers at a feverish pace in the past five years. Priced out of Brooklyn and Queens, they’re creating mixed-use buildings with attractions like breweries, rooftop skate parks and new public green spaces.
And in case you haven’t heard, the next major shake-up in the Democratic party is coming from Bronx-born and raised Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who just unseated longtime U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley as the candidate for Congress representing the Bronx and Queens.
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) June 28, 2018
But unless you live in the Bronx, you probably didn’t know any of this was happening. That’s where the Bronx Night Market, a new monthly event in Fordham Plaza launching on June 30, comes in. The all-Bronx showcase features food by more than 40 restaurants and small businesses, local vendors and artists selling their work, local breweries serving suds and local musicians playing the sounds of the borough.
“We’re creating something we can all be proud of, not just within ourselves but something that can go toe-to-toe with Queens and Brooklyn,” says Marco Shalma, founder of BLOX marketing and co-producer of the event with Edible Bronx magazine and the Fordham Business Improvement District. “Because we have the goods, we just have to make sure we put it out there the right way.”
The Bronx Night Market has been in the works for a year and a half, inspired by the success of Smorgasburg and the Queens International Night Market in highlighting independent makers and creating a community event that draws attendees from all five boroughs and beyond.
The stars of the market will be its food vendors, offering the traditional Latin and African flavors of the borough as well as trendy vegan and gluten-free vendors, with dishes priced at $3, $5 and $7. The Bronx is also in the midst of a brewery boom, and pioneers like the Bronx Beer Hall will be out with newcomers Bronx Brewery and The Bronx Public to represent what’s bubbling up.
It also helps that one person who’s single-handedly lifted the Bronx’s profile just happens to be pop culture sensation Cardi B, who grew up in Highbridge the South Bronx and says so proudly and often. She also supports the borough by wearing clothes by local designers including Bronx Native, which will be previewing its latest collection at the night market.
In fact, since organizers announced the night market in May, so many people and businesses have come forward to take part that they’ve got more interest than space to host them all. To get the full flavor of the Bronx renaissance, you’ll just have to come up and experience it for yourself.
The Bronx Night Market will be held on the last Saturday of every month: June 30, July 28, Aug. 25, Sept. 29 and Oct. 27, from 4-9 p.m. Admission is free.