EDC Releases “Open Letter” in Advance of Tonight’s Essex Street Market Discussion

As we have been reporting, Community Board 3 will discuss the future of the Essex Street Market this evening. We just received the following letter from David Quart, vice president with the NYC Economic Development Corp., which operates the market and is the lead agency in the Seward Park redevelopment project:

The Essex Street Market has been an important part of the Lower East Side for more than 70 years. In 1995, after years of decline, the New York City Economic Development Corporation took over management of the market in an effort to save it from possible closure. Since then, we have sought to continue with the strong traditions of this vibrant public market, while always striving to make improvements that will better serve the community. Among our efforts we have worked to provide a diversity of vendors that offer a variety of price-points. We are fully committed to the Essex Street Market, but we must also think about ways to ensure the market’s long-term success.

This evening’s meeting of Community Board 3 provides a unique opportunity to discuss the future of the Essex Street Market. As part of the larger Seward Park redevelopment we have a once in a generation chance to explore potential improvements by creating a larger, energy-efficient market with improved amenities. For months we have been working closely with and listening to those who have a vested interested in the market. This is an important conversation, and we will continue to welcome constructive feedback.

It is important to note that no decision regarding the market’s future has been made, and any scenarios that suggest otherwise are premature. This is simply the next step in our ongoing dialogue with the community and market vendors. Regardless of any final decision – which remains months, if not years, down the road – our commitment to the market remains steadfast.  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. In such a case, we would work with market tenants to ensure that their businesses can function with as little disruption as possible throughout any transition period.

As this process continues, we ask all stakeholders to engage in what we hope will be a frank and civil conversation, so that a solution may be reached that will allow Essex Street Market to thrive for years to come.

David Quart
New York City Economic Development Corporation