Community Organizer: Stand Up for Essex Street Market Wednesday Night

Photo by Cynthia Lamb.

The following post was written by Cynthia Lamb, founder of the neighborhood organization, Save the Essex Street Market:

The future of the Essex Street Market is finally being brought to the table at the upcoming Community Board 3 meeting (Wednesday, May 25, 6:30pm, 189 Allen Street), in light of the public outcry over its possible demolition. The agenda calls for a discussion, which includes representatives from Project for Public Spaces, an organization that seeks to “transform public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.” The Essex Street Market already is a vital place and a local asset; it can continue to be rejuvenated, and it does serve common needs. How fortunate we are to have such a lively, diverse, historic market in our neighborhood.

Until now, the official word regarding the Essex Street Market location has been “We already know what we can build there.” This sentiment doesn’t reflect a large segment of our community and visitors to our neighborhood. Many have spent months expressing the opinion that our Essex Street Market is a living piece of history. We have spoken on behalf of the market at the monthly meetings, one-on-one with the EDC and CB3 officials, in the local and national media, on social media sites, and in an online petition garnering over 1,600 signatures to date. There are numerous passionate comments online about preserving our heritage of an establishment that has been in active use for the same purpose for over 70 years. It is thriving, in no small part because of the excellent efforts put forth by the EDC — the very same organization who now holds the market’s fate in its hands.

So what will happen on Wednesday at the CB3 meeting? The discussion must include a vision of the SPURA development with the Essex Street Market intact, untouched, and fully accounted for. What must not happen on Wednesday at the CB3 meeting is simply a reiteration or justification of plans to “relocate the market.” We can move forward with the SPURA development while maintaining a precious piece of our Lower East Side heritage. Please come and make your voices heard!