The Great War and NYC: Street Vendors and Public Markets

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic MarketsStreet VendorsWorld War I

File Apr 18, 11 59 22 PM

April 6, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the US entry into the First World War. America’s involvement was comparatively brief, yet the war had massive impacts on American society. This month, we will be posting a series of articles about the ways in which the war affected the sites where we work in New York City.

New York City was far removed from the battlefields, occupied territories, and blockaded countries locked in the struggle of the First World War. While many of those places experienced food rationing, shortages, even deadly famines, the US was largely spared these deprivations. Nevertheless, the war was extremely disruptive to the food system of the nation and New York City, leading to the creation of new modes of food distribution to respond to this national crisis. (more…)


Bakeries at New York’s Public Markets: A Bread and Butter Industry for the City

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysIndustryPublic Markets

several roles being sprinkled with powder

In this two-part blog series, we’ll be highlighting the stories behind baking businesses – wholesale and retail, profit and nonprofit – that are located inside New York’s public markets and how each contributes to the culinary and manufacturing landscapes of the city. We begin by featuring the stories behind Davidovich Bakery and Pain D’Avignon, two businesses with established track records in wholesale, selling and distributing to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty shops, and that branched out into retail through opening flagship locations at the Essex Street Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. But before we dig in, let’s first take a look at the role baking plays in New York City’s manufacturing sector.

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Chocolate & Cheese: Launching Businesses at the Essex Street Market

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic Markets

A man and a woman, both in striped shirts, stand behind a counter that is filled with cheeses on display. There is a chalkboard in the background that lists out a variety of cheeses.

In celebration of Essex Street Market’s 75th anniversary, we have partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the market’s vendors to offer a series of free one-hour tasting tours this fall that share the history of New York City’s public markets and the stories and flavors of the diverse array of businesses that occupy the market today. As part of this special tour series, we’ll also be sharing highlights from our research every week on our blog.

Owned and operated by the city, the Essex Street Market provides a diverse array of fresh, high-quality, and affordable food options to local residents, as well as opportunities for new food entrepreneurs to set up shop with more reasonable rents than are usually found in New York City. In this week’s post, we profile two women who grew their businesses grew out of stalls measuring just 100 square feet – Anne Saxelby of Saxelby Cheesemongers and Rhonda Kave of Roni-Sue’s Chocolates. (more…)


Thanksgiving Shopping at the Essex Street Market

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic Markets

Cranberry Pecan Bread

In celebration of Essex Street Market’s 75th anniversary, we have partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the market’s vendors to offer a series of free one-hour tasting tours this fall that share the history of New York City’s public markets and the stories and flavors of the diverse array of businesses that occupy the market today. As part of this special tour series, we’ll also be sharing highlights from our research every week on our blog.

In preparation for Thanksgiving, we’ve put together a shopping guide so you can find unique, delicious, and affordable items right in the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market. But when it comes to market shopping guides, we have big shoes to fill. (more…)


Fishmongers of the Essex Street Market

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic Markets

Eric working behind the counter at New Star Fish Market.

In celebration of Essex Street Market’s 75th anniversary, we have partnered with the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the market’s vendors to offer a series of free one-hour tasting tours this fall that share the history of New York City’s public markets and the stories and flavors of the diverse array of businesses that occupy the market today. As part of this special tour series, we’ll also be sharing highlights from our research every week on our blog.

Whether you’re looking for salmon, tilapia, porgy, or mussels, fishmongers at the Essex Street Market have got you covered. Step inside the market today and you find two stalls selling fish, Rainbo Fish and New Star Fish Market, both of which are family-owned and operated with roots in the market going back decades. (more…)


Mayor LaGuardia and the War on Sidewalk Christmas Tree Sellers

Filed to: Immigrant FoodwaysPublic MarketsStreet Vendors

Trees for sale on the sidewalk in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

In preparation for our Holiday Church Tour Saturday, December 13 and Sunday, January 4, we’re re-posting this article we wrote last year:

It’s that time of year again – we’ve had our first snow in New York City, Christmas music is playing in every shop and store, and Christmas tree stands line the sidewalks.

While most Americans buy their Christmas trees from places like hardware stores, garden centers, churches, or Wal-Mart, New Yorkers rely on a somewhat unique economy of sellers that occupy public sidewalks all over the city for one month a year. So, how did we arrive at this arrangement, and why does it persist when so much of our city’s sidewalk economy has been stamped out? (more…)


Last Chance to Visit Vendy Plaza at East Harlem’s La Marqueta Sunday, Nov 23

Filed to: EventsImmigrant FoodwaysPublic MarketsStreet VendorsVendy Awards

Credit: Vendy Awards

This coming Sunday, November 23, is the last weekend to attend Vendy Plaza, at least for now. For the past four Sundays, our friends at the Street Vendor Project and the Vendy Awards have turned East Harlem’s historic La Marqueta public market into a gathering place for outdoor food vendors, music, and culture.

La Marqueta was originally called the Park Avenue Retail Market when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia opened it in 1936 as a place for street vendors to operate in East Harlem, part of his campaign to get vendors off the streets and into indoor markets. While more than a dozen of these public markets were built in the 1930’s and 40’s, today only four are still operating and are owned by the City of New York: La Marqueta, the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market (which will likely be relocated as part of the Essex Crossing development), the Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx, and the Moore Street Market in Williamsburg (which you can visit on our Immigrant Foodways Tour on select Saturdays). (more…)