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BY KAITLYN MEADE | Nineteen years ago, two schools in Tribeca hit upon an idea that went beyond the standard P.T.A. bakesale to bring their community out in support of school arts programs. This year, Taste of Tribeca, the culinary street fair, will be back again with 75 participating restaurants to raise vital support money for arts and entitlement programs at P.S. 234 and P.S. 150.
“For the past 19 years, Taste of Tribeca has been the biggest single fundraiser for both of the schools,” said P.S. 150’s Taste of Tribeca co-chairperson Hope Flamm. “This year is the biggest ever. The fact that 75 restaurants have signed up and have been very generous with their time and attention is amazing for us.”
They’ll be setting up tables along Duane St. between Greenwich and Hudson Sts. from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 18. The fair has expanded to include family entertainment and other offerings. There will be live music provided by City Winery and a Kids Zone that will feature face painting, clowns, a balloon artist, a children’s acting troupe and a martial arts demo.
“Because of all the budget cuts over the last four years, the money that comes in is invaluable. It goes to art, music programs, some dance programs,” said P.S. 234’s co-chairperson Naomi Daniels. “Without these funds, we wouldn’t necessarily be able to have these programs.”
This is Daniels third year as a chair for the event. Daniels’ three children attend P.S. 234, and she said her daughter just performed her dance and music for the class and her son is playing saxophone in the school’s concert — activities made possible by support from Taste.
At P.S. 150, Flamm said that the event has helped provide for a ballroom dance program, a creative dance program, storytelling, creative writing and science programs. P.S. 150 has also been a part of an architect in residence program for the past two years.
Many of the small school’s extra programs are funded by the P.T.A., such as hiring assistant teachers to help out in classrooms.
The dedication to parent involvement and enrichment programs draws a large number of parents to apply for kindergarten seats every year at P.S. 150, which is the only non-zoned traditional public school below Canal St. However, a recent proposal by the city Department of Education may move the school out of their Greenwich St. address and into a larger location in the former Foundling Hospital building in Chelsea.
The vote has been pushed back until September, said Flamm, but parents are still rallying to get support to stay in the neighborhood, not least because of Taste of Tribeca.
“If P.S. 150 were to move, it would be a big change in how Taste of Tribeca would be run,” Flamm said, adding that she could not say more as there are no defined plans yet. “We’re concentrating right now on Taste of Tribeca for this year.”
“A lot of our community comes out. It really is one of our best events in Tribeca,” she said.