Meals & Deals

Faced with disappearing corporate donors, Citymeals-on-Wheels teamed up with chefs Daniel Boulud and Marco Moreira and a new condominium for a charitable book launch to help feed older New Yorkers.

A tasting station at Wednesday's book launch
A tasting station at Wednesday's book launch
Photo: Virginie Blachere

Chefs Daniel Boulud and Marco Moreira turned Wednesday's book launch for Dining in New York City into a fund-raiser for Citymeals-on-Wheels. Held at the new condominium 15 Union Square West, the event showcased 13 of the 40 restaurants featured in the guide—as well as the venue itself—and more than 300 guests raised an estimated $30,000 while sampling dishes from such restaurants as Per Se, Nobu, Boulud’s Daniel, and Moreira’s Tocqueville and 15 East.

“This is an event that benefits everyone,” said Jan Bartelsman, the photographer and publisher of the guide. “We’re raising a lot of money for Citymeals and displaying the space, which is good for the developer. The chefs get to showcase their food, and I get to showcase my book.” Bartelsman was encouraged by Moreira and Boulud to introduce the guide with an event to benefit a charity that has been serving some of the city’s neediest residents for 28 years.

Tasting stations were scattered throughout four sprawling apartments on the third floor of the five-story building, which was donated for the night by owners Brack Capital Real Estate. Several small bars offered drinks and cocktails supplied by Union Square Wines, Admiral Wine, World Sake Imports and Sagatiba. MST Creative Group oversaw the marketing and promotions for the launch, and all proceeds from the event were donated to the charity.

Like many of the nation’s charities, Citymeals is feeling the sting of the recession. With the collapse of Bear Stearns and several other corporate donors, the organization lost $1.6 million in funding. Though individual donations have increased about 7 percent. Beth A. Shapiro, Citymeals’ director of marketing and communications, said funding is still down some $1.2 million.

“We have certainly felt the impact of Wall Street,” she said, adding that the rising cost of food has also strained the organization. Meals now cost around $6.42 for food and assembly, where it had been about $5 for the past 20 years. Citymeals delivered 2.2 million meals to more than 18,000 homebound elderly in the past fiscal year.

Shapiro said Citymeals-on-Wheels is thankful for events like the book launch and hopes to continue raising money through its own upcoming fund-raisers, including next month’s Battle of the Bands at B. B. King’s.