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A Rare Look Inside Vacant Essex Street Market Building

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We just wrote about last night’s “SPURA Open House,” hosted by the city and Community Board 3. But maybe more intriguing than the event itself was the place in which it was held. Passersby couldn’t help but notice the open door, beckoning visitors inside Essex Market Building D, which has been essentially vacant since 1955.

It might have been one of the last times the general public will see the interior of this building, one of four structures erected in 1940 as part of Mayor LaGuardia’s campaign to get pushcart vendors off the streets.  In preliminary discussions, the city’s design consultants have suggested the parcel on which the market sits would be the ideal location for a new “commercial hub,” possibly an “iconic building” at “the crossroads of the Lower East Side.” 

The interior has been pretty much untouched.  Paint is peeling from the walls, water drips from the ceiling. But there are also some remarkable remnants from this building’s rich past. Have a look:

In 2007, British artist Mike Nelson staged a major exhibition in Building D. The city’s Economic Development Corp. manages all of the Essex Market buildings. On their web site, the space is listed as a film and event venue.

As we’ve been reporting, residents are campaigning to save Essex Market Building C (on the north side of Delancey), which is thriving with 27 vendors. Community Board 3 will take up the issue of the market buildings at the end of May.

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