Occupy Wall Street Forces Zuccotti Park Greenmarket to Relocate

By Julie Shapiro on October 24, 2011 5:45pm 

LOWER MANHATTAN — The Occupy Wall Street protests have forced a popular farmers' market to move out of Zuccotti Park.

The Zuccotti Park Greenmarket, which has sold fresh produce and baked goods for years from the park where hundreds of protesters now sleep, will have to move up to West Broadway between Barclay Street and Park Place starting Tuesday, GrowNYC announced Monday.

Ken Migliorelli, whose Dutchess County Migliorelli Farm had a stand in Zuccotti Park, said sales of fresh fruits and vegetables dropped by 50 percent since the protesters set up camp in the park Sept. 17.

"It's been annoying and it's hurt business," Migliorelli said. "[Customers] can't get to the stand. It's not good."

The protests — as well as the accompanying police barricades — made it difficult for the vendors to unload their goods, said Robert Allen, owner of Meredith's Bread, which also has a stand in Zuccotti Park.

"There's been a lot of trouble getting the trucks in and out," he said.

Still, Allen said he would rather stay in Zuccotti Park than move to a new location, because customers might have an even harder time finding the stand elsewhere.

Lela Chapman, who coordinates lower Manhattan's greenmarkets for GrowNYC, confirmed that the market, which also includes Red Jacket Orchards, is moving because of Occupy Wall Street. She declined to comment further.

Those who live near Zuccotti Park were disappointed to hear that they were losing the farmers market, which they fought for after 9/11 and was already cut back from two days a week to just one last year.

"It's emblematic of the problems that the occupants of the park are causing," said Ro Sheffe, chairman of Community Board 1's Financial District Committee, who lives on Liberty Street one block from the protest site.

"It's not a good thing, and I hope it's a very temporary move."

Some Downtown residents have also complained about the protest's noise and unsanitary conditions, though others have welcomed demonstrators to the neighborhood.

An Occupy Wall Street spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Monday afternoon, Migliorelli said it was too soon to say whether the move to West Broadway would help or hurt his business.

"Maybe the foot traffic will be better there," he said. "Time will tell."

The Zuccotti Park Greenmarket will now be held Tuesdays on West Broadway between Barclay Street and Park Place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The market's season runs through Dec. 20.

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