The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Essex Street Market Future to be Discussed by Community Board

The Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side contains about two-dozen vendors.
The Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side contains about two-dozen vendors.
View Full Caption
Cynthia Lamb

By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

LOWER EAST SIDE — The fate of the Essex Street Market and its possible relocation to accommodate a large-scale development plan will be discussed Wednesday night by the local community board.

The famed market — which houses roughly two-dozen vendors ranging from butchers and a cheese shop to an art gallery and barber — faces an uncertain future as the city prepares to redevelop a swath of empty lots nearby.

Community Board 3 approved an unprecedented plan for the lots, known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), in January to kick-start reconstruction of the properties, which include the Essex Street market at the corner of Delancey Street.

The block-long building is owned by the city's Department of Small Business Services and managed by the city's Economic Development Corporation, which took over operations at the market in 1995.

The single-story structure could be razed to make way for a larger building at the site, though the EDC has committed to relocating the market if any plan involving demolition moves forward.

Board 3 stipulated that it would prefer the Essex Street market remain at its current location, noting that it should be moved to a better site if a decision is made to relocate it.

The news compelled one local resident opposed to the move to start an online petition against the relocation, which has nearly reached its goal of 2,000 signatures.

"The Essex Street Market is in a place that has always been a market. It was created as a market," said Cynthia Lamb, founder of the group Save the Essex Street Market.

"You can't recreate that, in my opinion. You can make something different, but you cannot recreate something that has been through the ups and downs of both good times and bad times."

In advance of Wednesday's meeting, the EDC noted that no decision has been made regarding the market's future and "any scenarios that suggest otherwise are premature."

"Our commitment to the market remains steadfast," said David Quart, EDC vice president of development. "If the final future development plans for Seward Park include a new market building, the existing market will continue to operate until any new space is ready."

Community Board 3's land use and zoning committee will meet Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., at the University Settlement Community Center, 189 Allen St.