When was the last time you ate at a food court?
When I was a preteen food courts had a significant place in my life. It where I'd meet my parents for burgers (usually A&W) after blowing my allowance on Babysitter's Club books. Later in my teens it would where I'd sit with my friends and gossip about high school classmates over cups of frozen yogurt hidden under candy toppings. As an adult, however, the mall food court is a strict no-walk zone filled with calorie warfare. Luckily though, I rarely have to deal with it as online shopping and social media have removed the need for having to purchase items or interact with friends in person.
I thought my days of eating at food courts were over - until I visited New York City!
Unlike the food courts I ate at when I was a kid the food courts that are alive and well in New York City aren't attached to shopping centers and they don't feature national fast food chains. Instead these new age food courts are located in old warehouses, ground level spaces of residential or commercial high rises or above public transit stations like The Pennsy (photographed; above Penn Station). These halls cater to tourists, rushed commuters and lunch starved business folk who want something other than the typical Halal certified street vendor might serve you.
Modern food court's, like The Pennsy, offer spaces to vendors that don't fit or can't afford traditional brick and mortar restaurants. In the case of The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck that roams the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan, a space at The Pennsy gives them a storefront to promote their vegan flavours (and I can personally vouch for the Kimchi Tatertots).
With my next trip to New York City booked, I'm excited to try the variety at another food court. I'm betting (and hoping) that news topics will replace gossip as our dessert conversation.