The Bridge: The Brooklyn Tour Guides Who Know All the Secrets

Filed to: Benefit CorporationsBrooklyn Army TerminalBrooklyn Navy YardPressProspect ParkPublic Markets

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The Bridge, July 12, 2017

by Emily Nonko

As Brooklyn’s tourism industry heats up, double-decker buses have crossed the river in herds, whirling visitors around Grand Army Plaza and other dramatic sights. But to paraphrase the song from Hamilton, what’d they miss? Lots, according to Brooklyn-based Turnstile Tours, which has made a name for itself with a completely different approach: depth. On a Turnstile Tour of the cavernous Brooklyn Army Terminal, for example, you’ll find out that the massive base was once used as a storage warehouse for alcohol seized during Prohibition. Millions of gallons of booze were dumped into the harbor!

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The Great War and NYC: Street Vendors and Public Markets

Filed to: Public MarketsStreet VendingWorld War I

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April 6, 2017 marked 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 year, 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…)


Food for Good: How Non-Profits Are Creating Change Through Food

Filed to: EventsInside IndustryManufacturingPresentationsPublic MarketsTurnstile Studio

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An Essex Street Market “Talk & Taste” event about food-based social enterprise

Many organizations are recognizing the value of entrepreneurship and culinary arts to inspire young people, build their skills, and equip them for challenges ahead. At this Talk & Taste event, offered in partnership with the Essex Street Market Vendors Association, we brought together three organizations that see the incredible value of food. The panel discussion included Lyn Pentecost, executive director of the Lower East Side Girls Club, and one of their longtime participants, Jocelyn. The Girls Club not only offers programs and facilities for young women to learn about cooking, but their La Tiendita stall in the Essex Street Market offers them the opportunity to learn the retail side as well, selling baked goods, aprons, potholders, and other textiles made by their participants. Jordyn Lexton is the founder Drive Change, a nonprofit that works with young people who have had contact with the criminal justice system, and operates for-profit enterprises run by their participant, including the Vendy Award-winning Snow Day food truck. Reconnect works with a similar population, helping young men in Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and Williamsburg who have become “disconnected” to gain skills and confidence by running businesses, including the Reconnect Graphics print shop, Reconnect Café, and the Reconnect Bakery in the Moore Street Market. We were joined by Reconnect’s founder, Father Jim O’Shea, bakery manager Daytoine Shaw, and one of his bakers, Rayvon.

[UPDATE 7/10/17: We are deeply saddened to have to share the news that Daytoine Shaw of Reconnect Bakery passed away suddenly last week. Daytoine was an incredible baker, mentor, and friend, and we will miss him terribly.]

If you missed the event, you can watch the whole discussion below or on our Facebook page.

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The Lo-Down:

Filed to: PressPublic Markets

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The Lo-Down, January 30, 2017

by Ed Litvak

If you visited the Essex Street Market this past weekend, you probably noticed this new historical mural celebrating the legacy of the 77-year-old public facility.

The 20-foot display presents a timeline from 1900 through the opening of the market by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in 1940, up to the present day. It was a collaboration among the Lower East Side Partnership, the Essex Street Market Vendor Association and Turnstile Tours, which provided research for the project. It was made possible through a grant from Avenue NYC, a program of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. The mural was installed in partnership with the Economic Development Corp., which operates the market.

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Market Value: How Public Markets Drive the Baking Industry Forward

Filed to: EventsInside IndustryManufacturingPresentationsPublic MarketsTurnstile Studio

several roles being sprinkled with powder

An Essex Street Market “Talk & Taste” event about the baking industry in New York City

Baking is literally our bread and butter in New York City making up the majority of food manufacturing businesses within the five boroughs. On December 8th, 2016 at the Essex Street Market, members of the public joined us for a taste of bagels and fresh bread and a behind-the-scenes look at the baking industry. Guest speakers included Lee Wellington, Executive Director of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, Gene Davidovich, CEO of Davidovich Bakery, Uliks Fehmiu, Co-Founder & President of Pain D’Avignon, and the general manager from the new bread-themed Eataly NYC Downtown location. Moderator Cindy VandenBosch of Turnstile Tours interviewed panelists about what it takes to operate a food production and distribution business in New York City and the unique role public markets – like Essex Street Market – play in supporting the baking industry. This event was organized by Cindy VandenBosch and Lauren Margolis of the Essex Street Market Vendors Association.

If you missed the event, you can watch the whole discussion on below or on our Facebook page.

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Press Release: Turnstile Tours Launches New Weekly Tour of Essex Street Market Sept. 25

Filed to: Press ReleasesPublic Markets

The outside of a market that's painted colorfully with designs that include painted vegetables, fruit, and geometric shapes

Turnstile Tours & Essex Street Market Vendors Association launch weekly 90-minute tasting tours of the market, every Sunday beginning September 25

Tours include 5–7 tastings and opportunities to meet the community of vendors and learn about the rich history of this Lower East Side institution

September 15, 2016, New York, NY — Weekly guided tours are coming to the Lower East Side’s Essex Street Market later this month. New York City-based tour company Turnstile Tours is working with the Essex Street Market Vendors Association (ESMVA) to offer 90-minute market tours every Sunday at 11:30am. While many neighborhood walking tours around the Lower East Side make brief stops at the market, this tour gives visitors an in-depth look at this neighborhood institution. (more…)


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

Filed to: ManufacturingPublic 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: Public 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.

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.

Saxelby Cheesemongers

Anne Saxelby was a pioneering cheesemonger when she opened her stall in 2006. As the first business in New York City to focus solely on regionally-sourced farmstead cheeses, she wasn’t sure if this approach – sans European cheeses – would have much appeal. Starting as a one-woman operation, she described her feelings on day one. (more…)


Thanksgiving Shopping at the Essex Street Market

Filed to: Public Markets

Cranberry Pecan Bread

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.

Starting in 1934, WNYC began hosting a daily five-minute segment at 8:25 a.m., Monday through Friday, targeted at housewives on topics related to food shopping, recipes, and healthy eating. Narrated and hosted by Frances Foley Gannon, Deputy Commissioner of the Consumers Service Division of the Department of Markets, the segment was heard by over 100,000 listeners daily. In preparation for the show, her team of researchers visited wholesale markets at 6 a.m. each morning to investigate and report on fair consumer pricing for the fresh ingredients of the day. (more…)


Fishmongers of the Essex Street Market

Filed to: Public Markets

Eric working behind the counter at New Star Fish Market.

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.

And like most fish sellers – whether they are retailers, restaurants, or supermarkets – these market vendors get most of their product from a single source, the Fulton Fish Market. Being a seaport city, fish has always been an important part of New York’s economy and culture. Opened in 1817, the Fulton Fish Market was a sprawling complex hosting fishermen, wholesalers, and buyers in Lower Manhattan. The market became a major target of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia’s efforts to reform and modernize the city’s food distribution system. In 1935, the mayor wrested control of the market from the Department of Docks and placed it instead in the hands of the Department of Public Markets, to work in concert with the city’s growing network of retail and terminal markets, and in 1939, the New Market Building opened at the end of Fulton Street. (more…)