The Underground Market at Columbus Circle

If you ever get hungry while making your way to the subway at 59th Street Columbus Circle, you can find an underground market with a variety of food options all without the swipe of a metro card. (By Shaiann Frazier)

The Turnstyle Underground Market, a 27,000-square-foot subterranean mall opened in April 2016. It runs under Eighth Avenue, between West 57th and West 58th Streets, and commuters can also enter through several street level entrances.

“I actually saw a video on Facebook that made me come to Chick’n’Cone,” said Jessica Hargrove, 34, a Pennsylvania native. “It was actually better than I expected.”

The Underground Market contains 18 food vendors and 38 shops and pop-ups. Since it is an underground market, no gas stoves are allowed in stores to ensure safety.

This means that many restaurateurs like Chick’n’ Cone, a franchise which serves fork-free chicken and waffles, had to get creative with kitchen appliances.

Another franchise, Doughnuttery which specializes in a breakfast, dessert, and snack pastry, also had to improvise to ensure safety and meet MTA regulations in the production of their doughnuts.

At this franchise, you will find mini-doughnuts with a variety of 25 sugar flavors to choose from.

People passing through the underground market can find fresh pressed nutritional juices or, for those with a sweet tooth, treats at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

Stephanie Gosk, 46, a New York native who frequents the candy shop said, “I take the 1 train and I was going to a movie. I thought to buy some candy before I go.” She added, “With little kids it’s hard not to come in here.”

Melvin Greenwich, a cellist and jazz vocalist, frequently plays at the Underground Market alongside another vocalist named Alberto.

“The music brings a different feeling, it’s like a calming effect,” he said. “The people like it and our manager Lloyd turns on the music for us to play.”

The subway station at 59th Street Columbus Circle was ranked as the fifth busiest in 2015. Recent data provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority states that the average weekday subway Ridership in 2017 was nearly 73,000 people weekly.

Susan Fine, the developer had to confirm 70 percent of the tenants before construction was set to take place. Fine, along with other developers, visited 450 shops and food vendors before deciding who would be a part of the market.

Their decision was based on a modernized look and it depended upon which vendors could work in a not-so-common environment.

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