September 29th, 2010
09:15 AM ET
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A little while ago, we told you something was abloom 18 stories above the streets of Manhattan. That something included the likes of patty pan squash, green tomatoes, purple okra and chioggia beets - all grown on the rooftop of the Gramercy Park Hotel for the in-house restaurant, Maialino, to utilize on its menu a few floors down.

Now, it seems the roof-to-table trend is really taking root in the concrete jungle. Chef John Mooney's new 80-seat restaurant, Bell Book & Candle, is the latest in rooftop farming ventures. Roth grows the majority of the restaurant’s produce above terra firma with the help of hydroponics and vertical towers - no soil required.

"I believe in an urban setting, this is the wave of the future," said Mooney. For that - things really are looking up.

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Filed under: Eatocracy Week • Local Food • News • Restaurant News • Rooftop Gardening • Television • Trends

soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. RayBordier

    Damn, it feels good to be a gangster...a gangster of butt love. Love this article.

    December 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  2. RayBordier

    Anyone ever crap in their hand for fun?

    December 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  3. RayBordier

    I just read this again. Fabulous journalism.

    August 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  4. RayBordier

    I still love this article.

    May 26, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  5. biraneeq

    just signed up at and wanna say hi to all the guys/gals of this board!

    January 17, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  6. RayCirino

    We are not there yet as a urban dweller. There could also be greywater, fish ponds, A.C. watering methods, vertical trellises, south facing walls cover with edibles to cool the building in the summer. It is exciting for those with this wonderful concept. Lets see a kitchen facing a window wall with greens in the cabinets, compost worm bends next to a fish cabinet. It's about a loop.

    October 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • RayBordier

      I agree. This is a good piece, I just can't stop watching it. Anyone named Ray knows what they are talking about, although I really don't know what worm bends are. I don't know about the loop thing either. It's more about breaking our addiction to corn and Government subsidies. Cheap subsidized corn will keep us lost in the "maize" forever. Why don't we stop what we're all doing and become an agrarian society again? At least we wouldn't have time to read kooky post like the one above. I don't know about greywater, but I sure loves the fire water. What does Atlantic City (A.C.)have to do with this? Dude, all the vertical trllises and edibles covering walls wouldn't done squat this summer. Friggin' hot.

      October 4, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  7. SteveSpragalie

    RayBordier, Brad Bradburd was right. You are an idiot. The EPCOT Gedoesic Dome was cutting edge in 1982. Now its about as relevant as your mom's beeper.

    September 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  8. Troyzkoi

    I've been doing tons of research on Hydroponics and Aeroponics, and comparing them to organic soil grown...You cannot get the nutritional value even close to the value of a properly balanced organic soil grown crop...Sure everything looks big and pretty and maybe even taste great, but the nutritional value does not compare...It is the perfect balance of Organics and Minerals that make up the best nutritional crop...

    September 30, 2010 at 10:29 am |
    • RayBordier

      The geodesic dome at EPCOT Center in Orlando utilizes Hydroponics and Aeroponics. My friend Reggie Noble prefers Ebonics.

      September 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  9. Alcharlie

    Wow! nice to see for once nobody has blamed Obama or Bush for this. I hope that more folks take up this idea. I currently have a small container garden and plan to continue. Sure would be nice if this becomes a cool trend so more will do it.

    September 30, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  10. Xteena

    Growing your own food is an enlightening experience if you've never done it before. It gives you a new appreciation for what our ancestors went through just in order to survive. And Dennis2547 is right; food you grow yourself tastes so much better. The food that you buy at the market has generally been engineered to achieve a longer shelf life which in turn, effects the taste. Makes sense huh? That someone that would effect the ripening of a vegetable would effect it's taste.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  11. Dennis2547

    My thoughts on this matter have always been, "if you have the will you will find a way". All of my gardens where when I first started out in my parents home, to my first apartment to my military digs on base, first house, all had kitchen gardens. Folks just need to understand that with a little effort they can grow so much of the vegetables they like to eat. It really isn't all that hard to do, really. Even a small balcony apartment or better yet a ground floor patio (as long as it is on the sunny side of a complex) can produce good results. Think about even a small tomato plant or cherry tomato plant. They taste so much better and will save to a lot of green.
    A retired US Army veteran

    September 30, 2010 at 6:53 am |
  12. TobyK

    It's refreshing to see someone actually do something rather than just mouth all kinds of good words about sustainability, buy locally, et al.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Reggie Noble

    Is it true you can grow marijuana using hydroponics?

    September 29, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • Dawn

      You can grow pretty much anything with hydro.
      Root veggies are tricky though.

      September 29, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
      • Reggie Noble

        Darn, I do love me some turnips and beets.

        September 29, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
    • Charlie

      Hey, aren't you Rip Van Winkle

      September 30, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  14. Budd Norris

    My dogs even like tomatoes. What a great idea! I'm gonna get my tomoto on right away!

    September 29, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  15. Your Mom

    People arent for bitting; Tomatoes are for biitting.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  16. SteveSpragalie

    Hey, Brad, lay off the kid. You got something against tomatoes?

    September 29, 2010 at 1:22 pm |
  17. RayBordier

    I love tomatoes. This ia a great article.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
    • Brad Bradburd

      You're an idiot, Ray

      September 29, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  18. Susan

    The same can be done for apartment living, too. I had a good size garden on my balcony this year growing veggies in containers. I had cherry tomatoes, green beans, green onions, radishes, baby spinach, baby swiss chard, arugala, and then my herbs – thyme, basil, and parsley. No sage this year.

    I'm still getting tomatoes, and I'm in New Hampshire!

    September 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  19. David

    The hydroponic/aeroponic systems they used look really nice, is there a supplier, or can they be made DIY.

    Thanks for an excellent article.

    September 29, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • Matthew

      If you have some DIY skills you should be able to make your own hydroponic set up on your own. All you need is pvc, a bucket, and a pump of some sort with controlable flow. There are tons of plans online. I set up a tomato hydro setup for my father in law and the amount of tomatos it produces is amazing.

      September 29, 2010 at 11:50 am |
      • Renee

        @ David thanks for the info.

        September 30, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • Fiona

      If you want what this chef is using, the word to search is "aeroponics," not hydroponics. It's a bit different form a standard hydroponic set-up.

      October 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  20. Dawn

    Imagine if people all over cities everywhere realized how much they can do, for so little, and be able to produce at least a little bit of their food.

    Check these guys out. It's pretty extreme what they did, but you can get a feel for what you can do for yourself.
    Even if it's just a few plants in pots on an apartment patio, growing your own food is fantastic.

    September 29, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  21. Crystian

    I respect this Chef. I respect his creativity. It shows that gardening vegetables doesn't have to be a labor intensive boring exercise.

    Creativity and innovation makes the task a whole lot easier. I'll recommend this video on my gardening website...

    September 24, 2010 at 9:15 am |
    • Amy

      Wow, nice spam. Was that backlink dofollow?

      September 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
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