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Madison Square Market Hopes for Reprieve with New Design

By DNAinfo Staff on January 12, 2011 5:23pm

The Madison Square Park Conservancy is revamping its plan for the
The Madison Square Park Conservancy is revamping its plan for the "Mad. Sq. Mark't" after complaints from Community Board 5.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — The Madison Square Park Conservancy is revising plans for its popular "Mad. Sq. Mark't" after a Midtown Community Board 5 committee voted it down last week, citing cramped sidewalks and ugly displays.

While the annual market had been a big hit with foodies — thanks to offerings from eateries including Resto, Almond and Fatty 'Cue — members of Community Board 5's Parks Committee complained that it blocked sidewalks, lasted much too long and looked like a run-of-the-mill street fair.

Last week, the committee voted unanimously to recommend denying the request for this year's event, set to run from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22. The full board had been scheduled to give its final ruling at its monthly meeting on Thurs., Jan. 13.

But instead of risking being voted down, Conservancy members contacted the board and asked them to delay the vote so they can come up with a new plan for the market, CB5 District Manager Wally Rubin said.

"We decided to let them come back to us with a revised plan," he said.

Mike Rucker, the Conservancy's communications director, said the team would be looking at all aspects of the market to see where they may be able to make changes. He declined to answer questions about which of the board’s concerns they would be taking into account.

"We want to look at our options and see," Rucker said. "Everything's still under formulation."

Rubin said he was pleased by the Conservancy’s efforts to revise its plans for the market, adding that the board has had concerns about its size, scale, look and length since its inception.

"We are grateful that the Madison Square Conservancy heard our concerns and reached out to us seeking a new hearing. We look forward to seeing their revised plan as soon as they have it prepared," he said in a statement.

The board has had long-standing concerns about other events in the park as well and requires the Conservancy to provide members with a comprehensive list of events it plans to sponsor in January each year.

When organizers came before the committee last year, members urged them to consider shortening the market's duration to less than a month and asked for more local merchants to make the event feel less like a typical street fair.