Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver recalled his grandparents’ house at 77 Hester Street just down the block, where they established the first of what is now five generations of Silvers to make their home in the neighborhood.
Wei-Li Tjong recounted childhood moments of staring through iron gates at the formerly neglected lot at the corner of Essex and Hester that belongs to the Seward Park Co-op, where he still makes his home and is a member of the board of directors.
The two men were among a parade of elected officials, organizers and neighborhood leaders with local connections who gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate the official grand opening of the fledgling Hester Street Fair.
Since its April start, the market has become a bustling hotspot offering artisan eats, vintage clothing and handmade crafts every Saturday and Sunday.
There were tales of 19th century pushcarts that operated at the same site, cheers for supporting local vendors and craftspeople from diverse backgrounds, optimism for the soon-to-open adjacent greenmarket, and proclamations from the State Assembly.
In the end, there was cake.