Market Crossings: Essex Street Market Unveils New Illustrated History Display
The Economic Development Corp. completed installation of its “history display” inside the Essex Market this week. More flow chart than mural, the new addition, located in the northern extreme of the building, illustrates the history of the Market vis-a-vis the pushcart economy of the Lower East Side.
The story begins in 1900, cataloging the rise of pushcarts on crowded streets, then passes through the “Depression & Tough Times,” and then “A Changing Neighborhood” (i.e. the period of hyper-gentrification). Endpoint is obvious – 2018. That’s when construction is slated to wrap on the Essex Crossing “Gateway” building across the street, which will house current vendors as part of the Market Line endeavor.
“History of Essex Street Market” is the latest maneuver by EDC – with help from the Lower East Side Partnership – to combat prior visibility concerns over the last few years.
Foot traffic woes came to the forefront a couple years ago when Anne Saxelby of the Essex Street Market Vendor Association demanded action from the city in light of headlines about the new space across the street. Namely, addressing competition from corporate grocers nearby like Whole Foods and Union Market which stay open later, debunking the narrative that the Market is closed for business, and better attention to social media presence. EDC has since pulled a 180.