The new Whole Foods on Bowery and E. Houston in NYC is scheduled to open tomorrow, but a select few got a preview last night. I’ve never attended a swanky gathering at a grocery store, and there’s something very silly about drinking wine and wearing fancy shoes while wandering aisles full of items not yet for sale. I was a bit nonplussed when a handsome young man in a white apron approached me with a formal air, holding a tray of hors d’oeuvre aloft. “Would you like a Spanakopita?” he said. “I think you’ll find it delicious.” I’m pleased to say that in addition to many of these wonderful exchanges, I also participated in lots of dialogue about conservation and community.
The big name of the evening was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who showed up to nosh on sushi and speak on behalf of Riverkeeper, which received the proceeds from the evening. Among the other attendees were farmers from the Union Square Greenmarket, now selling to Whole Foods as well. Guess that means if you miss the Farmer’s Market, you can still pick up some local produce!
I was also impressed by Whole Foods’ support of The Lower Eastside Girls Club. Among the tables serving wines, cheeses, Earl Grey gelato (!) and other morsels, a group of young women stood, selling pre-wrapped cookies in the shape of watering cans and flowers. The Girls Club has been selling baked goods through the “Sweet Things” Bakeshop. Whole Foods sought them out, and now the girls have a chance to flex their entrepreneurial muscles by selling their goods to a bigger market. “They were going to come [to the neighborhood] anyway,” one girl explained. “It was nice of them to reach out.”
More information about the new store’s community efforts can be found here. As for the eco-friendliness of the store, I’m taking their word for it about the wind-energy credits, green refrigeration and lighting. And as far as Hollywood A-listers go, I didn’t sniff anybody out at this particular event. However, I will say that this Whole Foods staff is comprised of ridiculously good-looking people. Just last night, I saw the white apron-ed doppelgangers of Cillian Murphy, Adrien Brody, Diego Luna, and a young Patrick Dempsey. Zowee! Just wait till the clientele starts pouring in. My bet is you’ll see plenty of star-quality action at the sushi bar.
p.s. If you’re one of the ‘Razzi readers who were there, drop a comment and let us know what you thought!