SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — After five years in the Seaport, the Fulton Stall Market — a collection of vendors selling gourmet food, farm-fresh produce and handmade crafts — has quietly shuttered, following a summer of poor sales.
Market organizers had originally announced last month, via Twitter, that the vendors would be on summer break during August and would come back in the fall. But the merchants, who had set up on Sundays beneath the same South Street awnings where fish was once hawked, never returned.
“Quite simply, our vendors weren’t really making a lot of money, and it was tough to keep it going,“ Amy Weeks, the market's manager, told concerned Community Board 1 members Tuesday night.
Weeks said she was working with Seaport developer Howard Hughes Corporation to relaunch the market elsewhere in the area, but that she wanted to ensure "that it's a long-term solution, something that will have long-term roots, through whatever they [Howard Hughes] have planned for the future.”
The announcement of the Fulton Stall Market's closure came as Howard Hughes is about to begin the long-planned redevelopment of Pier 17, which has mostly been shuttered and is slated for demolition in October. The tourist-filled mall will be replaced with a new glassy structure filled with high-end shops and restaurants.
Christopher Curry, Howard Hughes' senior vice president for development, said creating a new greenmarket soon is a "high priority" for the company, but it won't be located in its previous spot in the Fulton Market Building, which will undergo construction.
One vendor at the Fulton Stall Market, Sandy Kraehling — owner of the shuttered Pan Latin Cafe in Battery Park City — said she wasn't surprised that the market had closed, because it struggled to draw customers away from the more popular SmorgasBar.
"The writing was on the wall," said Kraehling, who left the market in July after seeing sluggish sales of her guava-roasted chicken and sweet breads.
"The addition of SmorgasBar was great for the Seaport, but they had tables, beer and sunshine — nothing against them, but I think they took away from our business, and we didn't get much help promoting the market. We sort of got lost in the shadows this year."
Kraehling said the Fulton Stall Market, which had its fifth season this summer, was also hurt by the departure of the New Amsterdam Market, which previously brought 70 local food vendors to the Seaport each week but had just a few dates this year.
Looking ahead to the fall, Curry told CB1 on Tuesday that while SmorgasBar's outdoor movies will soon end, there are new, "exciting" plans for the holidays, including several pop-up shops.
Curry declined to discuss the specifics of Howard Hughes' plans to develop the long-fought-over New Market and Tin buildings along the East River adjacent to Pier 17.