Essex Market ‘Street Seat’ Arrives Next Month for 76th Anniversary Celebration

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 at 9:25 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

It took a year, but that curbside “Street Seat” proposed for the Essex Market is finally happening. Installation is slated for May 21, the date designated for the 76th anniversary block party to celebrate the institution.

This public installation was supposed to happen in May 2015. The necessary approvals were previously met, but the setup never realized. The recently-renamed Lower East Side Partnership, steward of marketing the market, revealed after-the-fact that the cancelation was much ado over cost overruns and unspecified Department of Transportation “delays.”

But now it’s back on track. Tim Laughlin, executive director of the Lower East Side Partnership, returned to the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 last night for approval. The proposal this time around was slightly modified from the initial submission due to cost constraints and design limitations.

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Street Seat outside Les Enfants de Boheme, July 2015

The makeshift seating area is seasonal in nature, and will boast box platforms that evoke pushcarts, plantings, tables, chairs, and umbrellas. During the warmer months, the imported wooden infrastructure will occupy a 42-by-7-foot rectangle of pavement outside the northernmost entrance of the Essex Market (this is down from the 72-feet proposed last year). It comes at the expense of two parking spaces; although there’s still plenty of parking in the Municipal garage across the street. A mural on the facade of the market building is also in the works. The overarching goal is to treat the Street Seat as an extension of the shopping experience.

In addition to the Street Seat, a new 146-foot loading zone was proposed (Street Seat sits in it), and two-hour parking requested (at the behest of vendors) for the Muni Meter spots.

The panel was quick to approve both parts of the updated plans.

And to address the elephant in the room … the Essex Market as we know it will cease to exist in a few years. Once the 24-story Essex Crossing tower on Site 2 is completed (approximately 2018), vendors will jump across Delancey Street to the new facility. In the meantime, it’s struggling with visibility issues and stagnant management by the Economic Development Corporation (its landlord).


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