NYC heat, NYC cool One of New York's most stylish food stores also enjoys some spectacular architecture. Clive Beddall visits teh Bridge Market Midsummer in Manhattan, temperature 90degF with 90deg humidity. You can fry a quail's egg on the steaming sidewalk in Fifth Avenue, and even the seagulls circling the Statue of Liberty are seeking shelter from the sun. Hardly the best time to trawl the Big Apple's packed avenues. But one of the coolest shopping spots (in every sense) is the Bridge Market store operated by A&P subsidiary the Food Emporium under the spans of NYC's spectacular Queensborough Bridge. Food Emporium has 39 units throughout New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, but none with the ambience of the Bridge Market. And last month it won international recognition when it took the prize for the Food Lovers Destination Store in Food from Britain's first ever Foodie Awards in Manhattan. Originally designed in 1914 for use as an open air market, the store has a cathedral-like air thanks to a striking terracotta tiled vaulted ceiling designed by Rafel Guastavino y Esposito, the architectural genius who put the ceiling tiles into NYC's internationally famous Grand Central Station. Not that it was always so striking. In the 1930s the building fell into disrepair and it was 1974 before the Landmarks Preservation Commission received support from local merchants and the Bridge Market was reintroduced as an open air market. But, since then, the Food Emporium, which already boasted a strong reputation for "gourmet deli centres" in the US, has turned it into one of the city's most unusual stores. The shopper profile ranges from Upper East Side students living in bedsits to well heeled Manhattan millionaires with 2.3 children and stretch limos to cart home the groceries and the inevitable Madison Avenue adfreaks with money to burn. Manager Dennis Schess proudly tells shoppers all goods are "hand stacked" and the fixtures and fittings blend in well with the historic structure. Customers want to "feel the fruit", hence the well designed produce displays. Non food items, from household goods to a top-selling "talking cookie jar" at just $19.99 blend in with the mass displays of food. During a recent Royal Family of British Foods' promotion the firm's food economist, Mickey Feldberg, talked about the "astonishing revolution" in the taste of British products. This theme has been pushed strongly this summer as US food sellers bid to persuade doubting consumers back to British products in the wake of FMD. However, for the upmarket Bridge Market clientèle there has never been a problem. As Schess puts it: "British products always go well." Fixtures and fittings - Location: 405, East 59th Street (Ist Avenue), New York City - Sales: In excess of $300,000 a week - Trading hours: 24 hours, except at the weekend when the store closes between midnight and 6am - Selling area: 22,000 sq ft {{SPOTLIGHT }}