New Amsterdam Market Calls it Quits (Updated 7/15)

“Catch – & – Release” Installation Meant to Inspire Community-Driven Seaport Vision

Op/Ed: Magee Responds to LaValva on Seaport Concerns

Editor’s note: A short time ago, we posted an Op/Ed from New Amsterdam Market founder Robert LaValva concerning the future of the old Fulton Fish Market buildings at the Seaport. The piece addressed two TLD articles in which Kelly Magee, City Council member Margaret Chin’s director of communications, explained Chin’s point of view on a redevelopment plan announced this week.  Here’s Magee’s written response (in this case she is speaking for herself, not Council member Chin):

We have always held that the Tin Building and New Market Building were outside of the scope of this ULURP application. This has been the subject of numerous discussions between our office and Mr. LaValva, and we will have to agree to disagree on this point. The deal struck by Speaker Quinn and Council Member Chin to secure space for two regional food markets at the Seaport was nothing short of a massive victory. These two buildings will be subject to their own, separate, ULURP process – which will require City Council approval – when, and if, a development plan is put forth by Howard Hughes.”

Op/Ed: LaValva’s Perspective on the Seaport Market Deal

Dick De Marsico/New York World-Telegram and Sun Newspaper Collection, Library of Congress. 1963 photo of Fulton Fish Market.

Dick De Marsico/New York World-Telegram and Sun Newspaper Collection, Library of Congress. 1963 photo of Fulton Fish Market.

Editor’s note: The following opinion piece was submitted by Robert LaValva, president and founder of the New Amsterdam Market:

The Lo-Down’s two recent articles regarding the New Amsterdam Market and the Fulton Fish Market contain a number of incorrect statements by Council Member Margaret Chin’s spokesperson Kelly Magee.

In the March 13 article (“Future of New Amsterdam Market is Cloudy“), Ms. Magee stated that the current land use process for the Seaport Mall is not the appropriate place to press the issue, referring to our proposal to preserve the Fulton Fish Market Tin Building and New Market Building as public markets. In fact, as I stated at the Council’s hearing on March 14, and subsequently at meetings with staff members for Council Member Chin and Speaker Quinn, the Pier 17 ULURP process was the moment to advocate the preservation and future use of these historic public spaces for several reasons. 

New Amsterdam Market Mulls Future; This Summer’s Location Uncertain (Updated)

Christine Quinn, Margaret Chin, Robert LaValva at the New Amsterdam Market in 2010.

Christine Quinn, Margaret Chin, Robert LaValva at the New Amsterdam Market in 2010.

Here’s a bit more on yesterday’s deal paving the way for the redevelopment of the South Street Seaport and the establishment of two new food markets there.   On more than one occasion in the past few years, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and City Council member Margaret Chin stood alongside Robert LaValva, who has been the driving force behind reactivating the old Fulton Fish Market buildings, embracing his vision.  But yesterday, LaValva was nowhere in sight.

The founder of the New Amsterdam Market told us he was deeply disappointed in the final agreement, now approved by the Council,  allowing the Howard Hughes Corporation to move forward with the big project.  A side deal brokered by Quinn establishes a new market in the Link Building, adjacent to the Seaport mall, and a second facility in about half of the historic 20,000 square foot Tin Building.  The New Market Building was not part of yesterday’s agreement.

After Tin Building Deal, New Amsterdam Market in Limbo

Shop Architects envisions a New Pier 17.

Shop Architects envisions a New Pier 17.

A short time ago, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced a deal has been reached with the Howard Hughes Corp. creating a new food market inside the historic Tin Building.  The concession is part of a larger agreement paving the way for a Council vote today  green lighting the redevelopment of Pier 17.  At a contentious hearing last week, local residents and supporters of the New Amsterdam Market argued in favor of addressing the future of the former Fulton Fish market buildings now rather than at some point in the future.  The Tin Building is adjacent to the mall and was not included in the redevelopment plan.

Future of New Amsterdam Market is Cloudy

The 1939, “New Market Building,” at the South Street Seaport.

If you’re a fan of the New Amsterdam Market, here’s something you’ll want to be following in the next few days and weeks.  Events now unfolding in city government may very well help determine whether the popular event stays or goes at the Seaport — and whether the dream of a vastly expanded food market in the former Fulton Fish Market buildings can be realized.

As you may know, the Howard Hughes Corp. is redeveloping the widely maligned South Street Seaport Mall.  Tomorrow morning, a City Council committee will weigh whether to approve the land use application, including neighborhood zoning changes, that would clear the way for the project to begin.  The proposal does not include the fish market buildings, two structures that have languished since 2005, but due to a related agreement with the city, Hughes has the right to come back with a plan for those properties (the company has a June deadline to make a pitch).

Fire House Rally Planned Tomorrow at Noon

April 2010; South Street Seaport.

From the archives: here’s the scene outside FDNY Engine Company 4, near the South Street Seaport, last spring. Elected officials, firefighters and Lower Manhattan residents rallied to save the firehouse, a frequent target of Mayor Bloomberg’s budget axe.  Fast forward to the spring of 2011: once again the city has announced plans to close 20 fire companies, but has refused to tell the City Council which ones.

So just as they did a year ago, Chin and fellow Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley plan another rally in front of Engine Comapny 4. It will take place tomorrow at noon. The firehouse is located at 42 South Street, near Old Slip.  “As we approach 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, New York City remains the number one terrorist target in the world and closing even one fire company will severely jeopardize public safety,” a news advisory warns.


Quinn, Chin Voice Strong Support for Seaport Market

Councilmember Margaret Chin, Speaker Christine Quinn at the New Amsterdam Market this past Sunday.

On Sunday, City Council Speaker Chris Quinn and Councilmember Margaret Chin rang the bell to open the 2011 season of the New Amsterdam Market at the South Street Seaport.  In the last couple of years, they both have become big advocates of creating a 12-month, 7-day-a-week market on the former site of the Fulton Fish Market.

LaValva’s Seaport Market Vision Coming Into Focus

New Amsterdam Market, last year.

When City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proposed a large scale regional food market at the South Street Seaport in her State of the City Address last month, no one was listening more intently than Robert LaValva.  After five years of hard work pursuing his vision for the Seaport, her announcement was music to his ears.  LaValva, the founder of the highly regarded New Amsterdam Market, had been invited to attend the speech by the Speaker, and was right there in City Hall’s Council Chambers for the occasion.

New Amsterdam Market Returns This Sunday

Be sure to head a little further downtown on Sunday for the return of the New Amsterdam Market at the South Street Seaport (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at South Street, between Beekman Street and Peck Slip). The market features over 80 regional artisanal vendors including cheese from Essex Street Market's own Saxelby Cheesemongers.  The Atlantic Food Channel has an article about the revival of the South Street market, which once thrived in the same location back in the mid-1800's. The non-profit organization is "dedicated to reinventing the indoor public market as a civic institution" (as featured in Civil Eats, as well). The inaugural first season of Sundays is coinciding with New York City’s celebration of Harbor Day, which this year honors the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage to our Region in 1609.  Visit the New Amsterdam Market website for a full list of vendors and more info.