After hosting 88 market days and more than 500 food vendors since its first event in December 2007, the New Amsterdam Market is no more. Although a July 26 event featuring a clam bake had been planned, the most recent market on June 21 turns out to have been the final one, founder Robert LaValva told supporters in an email this morning.
Founded in 2005, New Amsterdam Market was first staged at the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan on December 16, 2007. Over the ensuing seven years, the market grew in frequency and scope while nurturing an evolving community of small businesses dedicated to sustainable food production, regional economies, and fair trade.
Through our steadfast presence under every adversity, we also championed the preservation of New York City’s oldest commons, where public trade has been conducted since 1642.
LaValva, who clashed publicly with City Council Member Margaret Chin over plans for redeveloping the market’s home at the Old Fulton Street Fish Market, spent part of his goodbye letter taking a parting shot at Chin.
I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive. Furthermore, we were dealt a mortal blow in 2013 when Council Member Chin, who had long professed to support our cause, betrayed the community in favor of a suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes. As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost more than one acre of beloved and irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming and terrible waterfront design.
UPDATED 7/15/2014 Here’s a response to Robert LaValva from Council member Margaret Chin:
Like many other members of our Lower Manhattan community, I was sorry to learn… that the New Amsterdam Market has ended. Aside from that, it would be an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed by Robert LaValva’s email attacking me as part of his announcement of the closure. After speaking with a member of the New Amsterdam Market’s board of directors, I quickly confirmed that Mr. LaValva’s email this morning was sent without the approval or knowledge of the New Amsterdam Market board. In fact, I have a great relationship with the board, as its members will attest, and I look forward to continuing to work them in order to keep the market going for the good of our community. Mr. LaValva’s claim that I have “betrayed the community” regarding the market and the Seaport is false. Instead, here are some facts: I proudly helped secure funding from the City Council and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in order to support the New Amsterdam Market. I made sure to provide Mr. LaValva and the New Amsterdam Market with opportunities to formalize his relationship with the City. Now, Mr. LaValva is trying to publicly blame me for something that he could have prevented by working more collaboratively with my office and the City. That might make for an attention-grabbing email, but it’s not the truth Once again, I look forward to working with the board of the New Amsterdam Market in order to find positive solutions that will help our Lower Manhattan community.