That Essex Market ‘Street Seat’ Won’t be Happening this Year

Posted on: September 4th, 2015 at 5:16 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Woes at Essex Street Market continue. The 75-year-old facility is still suffering from lack of foot traffic and an overall visibility problem, thanks in large part to confusion over Essex Crossing. (Site 2 will include real estate for the new market.) Initial messaging from developers seemed to weave a narrative that the market was closed. Not to mention, owners of the market – the Economic Development Corp. – don’t properly manage the space, as per the Essex Street Market Vendors Association.

So, the Lower East Side BID got involved to help kill the perception of closure. A month-long celebration of the 75th anniversary and a newfangled “Street Seat” were implemented to help alleviate these concerns. While there were parties and other events back in May, we have yet to see the installation of the outdoor amenity, originally slated for May 1. Months passed, and August was floated as the replacement date due to purported DOT delays and cost overruns.

Well, the bad news keeps coming. Installation of this new Street Seat has been delayed indefinitely. At least until next April, according to Lower East Side BID executive director Tim Laughlin. It didn’t make sense for such a late start for the seasonal operation which would need to close by October anyway.

The Street Seat is a makeshift seating area – with plantings and possible adjacent mural – that is seasonal in nature. During the warmer months, the imported wooden infrastructure will occupy a 70-foot length (7-foot width) of pavement outside the northernmost entrance of the Essex Market. At the expense of four parking spaces (really two, since the others are no parking zones). The BID’s design for the new pedestrian-friendly project reportedly incorporates the pushcart past into the design.

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Example of a Street Seat in the wild

The hope was that by adding a public amenity to the exterior, inherent “visual cues” will indicate that the market is open. At least for the next three years while the 24-story replacement is constructed at Site 2 of Essex Crossing.

Guess it’ll have to wait another year.

Meanwhile, according to an article in The Villager this week, four new vendors are on the way, including a “craft beer shop” and “Japanese food vendor.”

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