Union Square Bees

August 15, 2012

Today I noticed for the first time: the Union Square farmers market is full of bees. You can see scores of them in the stands: bees scaling nectarines, grappling on plums, nosing nosegays. Stinging people: apparently not. The girl at the honey stand wears black-and-yellow gloves, and stands, in perfect composure, amid a cloud of agitated bees. “They’re attracted to it,” she says, holding out a plastic spoonful of sample honey. This makes sense. “And they’re angry because we took it from them.” Also makes sense. But where do the bees live? She points across the street.

Here’s something more surprising than bees swarming Union Square: there are thriving hives on the rooftop of the building at 17th Street and Broadway. What’s more, the honey you buy at the market stand comes, in part at least, from those very hives. The man behind this neat arrangement is Andrew Cote, producer of Andrew’s Taste-Bud Bursting Local Wildflower Honey and the closest we will ever get to an urban apiculture superhero. My jar cost $10.