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

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. 

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).

Talking Public Markets at The Tenement Museum

Morris Vogel, President of the Tenement Museum, introduced panelists (from left) Robert LaValva from the New Amsterdam Market, Andrew Coe of, Suzanne Wasserman of The Gotham Center and Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheese

Editor’s note: Here’s our first story from Giacinta Frisillo, The Lo-Down’s newest community contributor:

We stopped by The Tenement Museum Tuesday evening for another excellent edition of their Tenement Talks food series.  Panelists at the event, “Public Markets: Talk and Tasting,” included Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and Robert LaValva, president of the New Amsterdam Market. They discussed the long entwined history, and future, of public markets in New York City.

The city’s first public market opened its doors in 1675, on the waterfront.  LaValva noted that the city was finally “truly united with the water” bringing the freshness of the shipping trade as close to the hands of the public as possible. As the city grew in size and volume, so did the public markets, reaching double digits for a time. But with the advent of supermarkets and convenience stores on every corner, the number of public markets has dwindled to only four throughout the five boroughs.

LES Bites: Milk Bar Transforms to Cocktails, Bowery Diner Menu, More on Pok Pok Wing

Via Tribunali's signage has appeared at 122 Ludlow St.

There’s lots of restaurant and bar news to start off the week, and more on the way; later today, we’ll have some details from last evening’s meeting of Community Board 3’s liquor license committee. In the meantime, here’s what’s making the rounds in other media:

  • David Chang’s original Milk Bar space in the East Village will be transformed into a high-tech cocktail lounge addition to the Momofuko empire, in a collaboration between Chang and Dave Arnold of the French Culinary Institute. (Zagat)
  • Sneak peeks at the menu and wine list for the new Bowery Diner, opening this weekend. (NYT, TimeOut)
  • New Amsterdam Market founder Robert LaValva shares his love of the Japanese home cooking at Umi No Ie. (Eater)
  • Pok Pok Wing, which is taking over the Baohaus space on Rivington, drew lots of media love — and monk’s blessings — in advance of its opening last night. (GrubStreet)


New Amsterdam Market Stretches Out

Shandakan Bake's Craig Thompson offered heart-shaped cookies in two flavors, as well as "trail bars" of shortbread, caramel and coconut.

The proprietors of Brooklyn’s Liddabit Sweets were thrilled to have a cool-weather market to sell chocolates and candies made from local ingredients.

A strange thing happened yesterday at the New Amsterdam Market. The artisan food fair that’s slowly but steadily gained momentum as a premier destination shopping spot for sustainable, seasonal, local goods near the seaport in three years of Sundays saw some unusual customers: Wall Streeters showed up in suits to peruse the wares.