Best family-style market - 2006
La Marqueta de Williamsburg
One of only four enclosed Latino marketplaces remaining in New York, the Moore Street Retail Market, or La Marqueta de Williamsburg, as it has been known for more than 50 years, is about half the size of the Essex Street Market but twice as homey. Seniors frequently lounge at tables playing dominoes under skylights and fluttering flags, which represent the numerous nationalities blending here (Puerto Rican, Dominican, Ecuadoran, and Mexican, to name a few). Kids scurry between 26 customized stalls selling fresh flowers, produce, bulk herbs, blessings, meat, candles, Catholic saints, CDs, haircuts, baseball hats, gifts, hangover remedies, and tailoring services—basically, everything you might need for a grand fiesta (and its aftermath). If what you want are a few laughs and a little perspective, kick back on a sunken bench with Manuel Riviera, the self-proclaimed mayor of La Marqueta, who started coming here as a kid "when 25 pounds of potatoes cost 15 cents." (Riviera recently moved his music store—a neighborhood institution for 25 years—into the festive environs of the Marqueta.) Before you leave, wedge yourself between the policemen and postal workers who swear by the tacos, gyros, and full breakfasts served at Diego's American Coffee Shop (there's no menu, but if he can, Diego will make it). It's true that supermarkets, with their bulk buying power, are a little cheaper, but the experience of La Marqueta is worth a few cents more a pound.