By Kevin Zimmerman
For its fourth annual event, Rockaway’s Honey Fest plans to spread its wings and send its sweet celebration beyond Queens’ borders into Manhattan and Brooklyn as well.
New York City’s first Honey Week kicks off Monday and includes nearly two dozen apian-related activities from bee costume making workshops to a five-course honey-themed dinner.
“Our ambition is to reach more people than just those who venture out to the Rockaways,” said Steve Rogenstein, one of the organizers of Honey Week. “We are going to have food-related, educational and interactive activities.”
The beach will remain a hive of activity during the day-long festival Sept. 13 that brings together city beekeepers, food, arts and crafts as well as a bee-product marketplace on Beach 97th Street and the Boardwalk.
“September is National Honey Month,” said Rogenstein. “And it’s a great time to go to the beach. You’re not going to be swarmed by hordes of people.”
All puns aside, mid-September also coincides with the second honey harvest of the season, which occurs in late summer, said Rogenstein.
Things kick off for the grownups Monday with the Queen Bee Cocktail Classic at NY Distilling Co. in Brooklyn.
Mixologists from across the city will whip up honey and locally distilled alcoholic creations. Participates can sample honey-influenced nibbles as they sip.
Other Brooklyn events include the Busy Bee Costume-Building and farm visit Sept. 10 in Building 92 of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a Sept. 10 discussion on the role of honeybees in urban areas as part of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy’s lecture series, an Intro-to-Beekeeping Class Sept. 14 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and a Honey Infusion Workshop and Tasting Sept. 14 at the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm.
Manhattan plays host to a Sept. 9 lecture organized by the NYC Beekeepers Association and featuring recently retired NYPD detective Tony “Bees” Planakis, who served as the department’s beekeeper in charge of dealing with swarms.
Murray’s Cheese on Bleeker Street will be the site of a cheese and honey tasting event Sept. 10. Chef Max Sussman of SoHo’s The Cleveland cooks up a honey feast Sept. 10.
While plenty of places in the other boroughs will be buzzing with activities, most of the week’s events take place right here in Queens.
Beginning Tuesday and continuing through Sunday, HoneyGramz at Kissena Corridor-Everygreen Community Garden in Flushing and Wilk Apiary at LIC Roots Community Garden will offer tours of their hives. Pre-registration is required and tours will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Kids will have the opportunity to get up close to a bee colony when City Growers brings its observation hive to Brooklyn Grange’s Long Island City location Sept. 12 for the “Show Me the Honey!” Bee Bonanza.
“It’s an educational hive,” said Rogenstein. “They take an actual hive and insert photographs into it that show what a real one would look like.”
Images of honeycombs, queen bees and drones enable the visitor to actually look inside a hive without the fear of getting stung.
Queens diners will have a couple of chances to satisfy their cravings with honey-based dinners. Chefs Angelo Romano and Katy Peetz plan a five-course meal at the Brooklyn Grange’s LIC location Tuesday night. Dinner includes mushroom ragout with honey vinegar, flatbread with tomato palate dusted with honey pollen and salt-crusted fish topped with a honey lemon vinaigrette.
Then on Thursday, Edgemere Farm in the Rockaways cooks up a honey-glazed pig roast.
Wilk Apiary teams up with LIC’s Transmitter Brewing, Glendale’s Finback Brewery and Maspeth’s Bridge and Tunnel Brewery to create new beers infused with Queens made-honey to wrap up Honey Week Sept. 14.
“Everyone loves honey,” said Rogenstein.
If you Go
NYC Honey Week
When: Sept. 8 – Sept. 14
Where: Various locations around Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, including Rockaway Beach for Honey Fest on Sept. 13.
Cost: Reservations are required to nearly all activities. Most events are free or are by suggested donation. Tickets to tastings and dinners range from $45 up to $125 per person
Website: www.nychoneyweek.com for more info and to register for events