Restaurateur Danny Meyer (Union Square Café, Gramercy Tavern and Shake Shack, among others) and Eric Petterson (Coffee Shop) started the Harvest in the Square event 15 years ago as a small neighborhood affair to show off Union Square’s restaurants and raise money for the park.
Since then, the event has raised $1.5 million and keeps growing. Tuesday night’s lineup of 60 restaurants and 20 wineries is expected to draw more than 1,200 people. The park has grown with it: In the past five years, its foot traffic has increased by 59 percent.
“We call Union Square the crossroads of New York,” said Jennifer Falk, executive director of the Union Square Partnership, a business improvement district that manages the park. “You’re really getting to see a slice of New York City life there.”
Proceeds will pay for tables, chairs, plantings and, Falk hopes, a film series in the park.