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Fate of Essex Street Market Discussed at CB3 Meeting
With the SPURA development process kicking into high gear, CB3 held a meeting last night at the University Settlement Community Center on Allen Street to discuss what has been a hot topic of debate – the fate of the historic Essex Street Market. Officials from the NYC Economic Development Corporation and Assemblyman Sheldon Silver’s office were all present.
Built in 1940, the Essex Street Market is an iconic and thriving market that occupies 15,000 square feet, and nurtures 22 local vendors. It is one of four surviving public markets built during the Depression as part of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s initiative to create public markets for pushcart vendors, and to this day remains a lifeblood for the community.
During the meeting merchants made emotional appeals to CB3 and the NYC Economic Development Corp. explaining the importance and history of the Essex Street Market. Local activist and staunch supporter Cynthia Lamb has already collected nearly 2,000 signatures for a petition she created four months ago. She is simultaneously urging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider granting landmark status, which would effectively prevent its demolition and preserve its antique charm. “I love that the market stalls look as old as New York,” said Ms. Lamb.
The NYCEDC maintains that if the Essex Street Market is relocated, it would continue to operate until the new space habitable. Current vendors would get first priority. Two other options discussed were temporary relocation of merchants or vertical additions to the current one-story structure; the latter project would be quite costly and conducted in phases. Finally, it was conveyed that if the market stays at the current location, the SPURA redevelopment plan would probably lose 80-100 new apartments.
What we wanna know is what this new Essex Street Market would be called if moved off its namesake street?
-Written by Andrew Cohen