Location: 97th Street
Travel Time from Columbia: 13 min
Hours: Fridays- 8am to 2pm
Produce Quality: 4.75/5
The 97th Street Greenmarket is not only a convenient subway trip away, but also it has a good collection of fresh fruits and veggies. Like most markets, the Greenmarket consists of a patchwork of smaller stalls where it’s easy to find a variety of regional produce, parts of which change with the growing seasons. Because the haze of Fall has descended for the moment, many of the stalls currently boast gourds, pumpkins, and at least thirty varieties of squash.
Beyond vegetables, there are also stalls devoted to seafood, where long, fine cuts of bass, salmon and other nautical creatures cool on ice. When I went, I didn’t spot any stalls with a similar set up for meat, but I will check again when I return (and return I will). The market also has several stalls with prettily, and sometimes not so prettily, wrapped baked goods and a new, interesting addition—a stall that sells only different types of mushrooms. There is something absolutely fascinating in seeing contrasting varieties laid out together, as any Biology majors would probably say.
Overall, the market is pleasant, but it has the highly curated feel of a market that aims to serve as a pretty compliment to regular store bought produce without usurping it. There were also few items that were interesting or experimental enough to hold my attention—except for the mushrooms—and if I was looking to branch out my palate, I probably wouldn’t find any particularly exciting ingredients here. It’s unequivocally “nice,” in a cookie cutter village way, but it lacks any kind of serendipitous “NYC edginess”. Anna Wintour would not buy squash here, but your mom’s friends would.
Absolutely come if you…
…want your shopping experience to have that small town, neighborhood feel with the added anonymity of not being directly near Columbia
…are looking for good quality seafood that you might look at but probably won’t buy because one of your suite-mates is allergic to shellfish
…are trying to expand your curated Instagram collection of pictures of gourds by a massive amount
…need an excuse for a fast, fun trip downtown while listening Vanessa Carlton’s forever iconic “A Thousand Miles”
…have never gotten off at 96th Street despite always transferring trains there and want to convince your mom you’re still “exploring New York City”
…miss your grandmother’s tart, flaky baked goods as much as your grandmother herself