By Gabriela Resto-Montero
LOWER MANHATTAN — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilwoman Margaret Chin rang in the start of a new season for the New Amsterdam Market at the South Street Seaport Sunday morning.
The two representatives have supported transforming the former Fulton Fish Market on South Street into the market's permanent home.
"Who knew that when you came here to buy arugula you would be making a profound political statement about the economic future of Lower Manhattan," said Quinn, who added that the council was in talks with the Economic Development Corporation over use of the former Fish Market.
With more than 65 vendors, the market continues to grow and attract businesses who use locally grown food and high-quality ingredients said Robert LaValva, the market's founder.
"There have been markets here for 350 years," LaValva said of the space along the water between Fulton and Beekman Streets.
"This is the only little piece left of old waterfront in New York and this could bring people back," he said of creating a permanent space.
With the city using the parking lot where the market sets up as a staging ground for the ongoing Brooklyn Bridge reconstruction project, the Market will be open on Sundays beginning June 5th through Dec. 18.
Vendors at the opening included first-timers Morris Grilled Cheese, which crafts gourmet sandwiches, and Brooklyn's Marlow & Sons, which set up a wood-burning oven next to its stand Sunday to make goat and rabbit flatbread.
"We get to cook outdoors," said Andrew Dorsey, a butcher with Marlow & Sons. "It's amazing."
Given the growing popularity of the market and the city's increasing awareness of locally-grown and produced foods, Chin said taking over the fish market is the next logical step.
"We will make this happen," she said.