Essex Market Vendor ‘Rainbo’s Fish Market’ Retires After More than 40 Years
With all the fanfare the last couple weeks for the new Essex Street Market, it was pretty easy to miss the loss of two longtime vendors.
At the end of April, shortly before the move across Delancey to Essex Crossing, the decades-old Rainbo’s fish market and sister vendor Tra La La Juice Bar both called it quits. Owner Ira Stolzenberg, who started both businesses with the late Ron Budinas, ultimately decided to retire.
Native New Yorkers, the partners (in work and life) met in 1972 while working at the same fish market in Queens. Stolzenberg’s father, the Avenue C fishmonger behind Heschy’s Kosher Fish Market, helped bankroll his son’s kosher fish business inside the Essex Market. They set up shop in the warehouse south of Delancey where they peddled until the renovations of the mid-1990s.
By 1999, after returning to the market from a stint in Spanish Harlem, gentrification sank much of the fish business. Not to mention the Kosher fish business, so Stolzenberg and Budinas opened Tra La La beside their then-newish stall in the main building.
Budinas suffered a fatal heart attack in 2016.
Meanwhile, all twenty-one vendors in operation at the time of the move made it to the new Essex Market space.