It was pretty much a washout Saturday at the Essex Street Market’s annual Block Party, but merchants and customers alike braved the elements and made the best of it.
The Vendor Association also looked ahead to the future. In a few months, the 78-year-old public market will be moving across the street to an expanded facility in the Essex Crossing project. At this past weekend’s event, Vendor Association President Anne Saxelby dedicated this year’s block party to Delancey Street Associates, the consortium building Essex Crossing. Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners; Charlie Bendit, co-CEO of Taconic Investment Partners; and Isaac Henderson, Essex Crossing’s project manager were on hand to accept awards.
As part of the developers’ agreement with the city, they are building the new market and paying moving expenses for all of the vendors. Saxelby thanked them, as well as the city’s Economic Development Corp. (which runs the market) and Community Board 3 for working to make the new market happen. “When we first learned of the Essex Crossing project back in 2013,” said Saxelby, “we as vendors were really concerned because we didn’t know what our fate would be. Thanks to the work of the EDC, CB3 and Delancey Street Associates we have a beautiful new market, and all of the current vendors will be moving over, plus 14 new vendors.”
Also attending Saturday’s rainy party were Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin.
At one point, Chin ducked inside the market to pick up a few items at one of the newer stalls, Essex Olive & Spice House. In her public remarks, she said, “The new market will be gorgeous and wonderful,” said Chin, “but there are a lot of new vendors in the market right now, so please check it out. I did. It’s just wonderful to celebrate the history of the market and also to celebrate the neighborhood.”
The EDC, Vendor Association and Lower East Side Partnership have been sponsoring the block party during the past few years as a way to boost awareness of the market, which has struggled to attract foot traffic. The new market will be located at 115 Delancey St., just across from the current building.