City Envisions Bigger, Blander Essex Street Market


Although the city keeps saying the Essex Street Market’s location isn’t necessarily doomed, they’ve taken the time to commission some architectural renderings of what a new, rhetorical market may one day — but only maybe! — look like. And they don’t exactly inspire confidence in either the current market’s chances of survival or the city’s sense of its own history.

The plans were presented at last night’s CB3 meeting to discuss potential future scenarios for the 71-year-old market. The Lo-Down was there, and reports that officials from the Economic Development Corporation, which manages and operates the market, appeared with some architects to offer four possibilities for Essex Street’s future.

The first option is to leave the market in its current facility on the northeast side of Delancey and Essex streets. The second is to build a new two-level, 14,000-square-foot facility on the southeast corner of the intersection. The market would be part of a mixed-use commercial and residential building, and would have a courtyard bordering Broome Street.

The third option is to preserve the current market’s facade but build a new structure behind it, and the fourth calls for the preservation of the market and the creation of a new one — which would undoubtedly foster competition between the two. As Bowery Boogie noted, the committee heard testimony from market tenant Anne Saxelby, who has been vocal in her support of the market’s preservation. Cynthia Lamb, who has now gathered some 2,000 signatures on her petition to save the market, also spoke.

Between the blog’s observation that committee members seemed resigned to the probability of a new building, and the city’s illustrious history of ignoring its citizens in favor of real estate developers, the market’s future seems pretty dim. It’s difficult not to view the recent closure of Jeffrey’s Meat Market as the latest of a series of bad omens to befall the market, to say nothing of the Lower East Side.