This past weekend marked what may have been the last good outdoor food festival in New York City. After 16 years, Big Apple Barbecue Block Party will no longer occur in Madison Square Park, organizers say, as the event has outgrown its Flatiron home.
This will not mark the end of the popular barbecue festival, though, as organizers search to find a new location for the 140,000 people that attend every year. It’s become one of the most iconic food festivals in the city, a beloved meatfest of epic proportions with brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and so much more from acclaimed pitmasters around the country. Beyond that, during its time in Madison Square Park, the event has raised over $1.6 million for the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Though NYC is brimming with food festivals, they are rarely worth the cost. Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, though, stood out as perhaps the only worthwhile one, for a few reasons: There are no tickets required, the food is actually really good, attendees can taste food from the top pitmasters around the country without leaving NYC, and it took place right in the heart of Manhattan. It’s a very specific chemistry with each component being equally important, so it will be interesting to see if organizers can keep the location just as top-notch and not affect the quality of the popular event.