After a weekend in soft open mode, the new Essex Street Market makes its official debut this morning with a ribbon cutting ceremony and speech-making from city officials.
When we stopped by the market yesterday afternoon, vendors were stocking their display counters and greeting both longtime shoppers and new ones curious about the expanded facility. After 79 years, the Essex Street Market’s historic home on the north side of Delancey Street is closed for good. The new space, nearly three times as large, is a bright, modern showpiece for Essex Crossing, the residential/retail mega-project in the former Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.
Most of the vendors who made the move have additional space in the new public market. Some have added new features, Over at Nordic Preserves, there’s now a counter for customers to be seated and a stove. Once their liquor license is approved, you’ll be able to sit down and enjoy a beer and the old Good World Bar burger. Top Hops is also waiting on a liquor permit before opening its spacious bar in a conspicuous spot on the market’s south end. Cafe D’Avignon is now baking bread on site and offering sandwiches and a selection of quiches, something that wasn’t possible in their tiny former space.
The three grocery stores – Viva Fruits & Vegetables, Luna Brothers and Essex Farm – are essentially unchanged. Their prices do not appear to have gone up in the fancy new space. There’s more room to display their products, however, making it easier for shoppers. Luis Meat Market and New Star Fish Market are side-by-side down one aisle, offering the same affordably priced meat and seafood.
New vendors include Essex Shambles, a Harlem-based butcher specializing in locally-sourced beef. Right across the way, you’ll find Riverdel, a vegan cheese shop! Local favorites Sugar Sweet Sunshine and Chinatown Ice cream Factory (know as LES Ice Cream Factory in this corner of the neighborhood) are represented. Roni-Sue’s Chocolates is back in the market after a hiatus. Other new entries include Samesa (Middle Eastern), Don Ceviche (Peruvian dishes), Eat Gai (Thai) and Mille Nonne (Italian).
If you enter the market from Delancey Street, you will notice a small historical display, featuring old photos and drawings of the first public markets on the Lower East Side. There’s a gift shop called “The Pushcart,” where tourists can pick up Essex Street Market t-shirt. Upstairs, there’s plenty of seating (a major upgrade from the past), a space for public events and a large demonstration kitchen. The community space features a 720 square foot mural by Aaron Meshon.
Still to come, two full service restaurants will be opening, including an Indian spot called Dhamaka. In the summer, the first phase of The Market Line will open right below the Essex Street Market, adding about 30 additional food vendors.
The new Essex Street Market is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can learn more about all of the vendors here.