An Era Ends Sunday as the Old Essex Street Market Building Closes For Good

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If you want to visit the old Essex Street Market one more time before the vendors cross Delancey Street, Sunday will be your last opportunity.

The 79-year-old building at 120 Essex St. will soon be demolished to make way for another shiny apartment building. The newly expanded market will soft open late next week before officially debuting at 88 Essex St., within the Essex Crossing complex, Monday, May 13.

It was, of course, a shortsighted move by the city’s Economic Development Corp., which operates the public market, to obliterate all four buildings that made up the original Essex Street Market. The demolition will wipe away the last vestiges of the Lower East Side’s pushcart past (the market was created in 1940 to get the vendors off the streets).

There is a silver lining. The vendors, many of whom have withered in recent years, are hoping the new space will attract bigger crowds. In an agreement brokered with the community board years ago, the Essex Crossing developers were required to pay their buildout and moving expenses.

15 new vendors will be part of the refashioned facility, including Essex Shambles (a butcher), Lower East Side Ice Cream Factory (a spinoff of Chinatown Ice Cream Factory), Samesa (a Middle Eastern takeout counter from the Susan Brothers), Sugar Sweet Sunshine (a new outpost of the popular LES bakery), Roni-Sue’s Chocolates (an alumnus of the old market) and Don Ceviche (a seafood-centric Peruvian stall).

More thoughts about the big move after the weekend.

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