Public markets are one of the foundational institutions of urban life. The Project for Public Spaces defines public markets as indoor or outdoor markets that “operate in public space, serve locally owned and operated businesses, and have public goals.” They not only a place of commerce, or a tourist attraction, but a place for convening and community building that cuts across social, cultural, and economic strata. In many American cities, such spaces can be hard to find, which is why we cherish the truly great public markets that have survived. In this virtual program, we will survey some of our favorite public markets that we’ve had the chance to visit, what makes them great, and what are their “public goals,” from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Philadelphia to Flint, and even here in New York City.>> Continue reading
April 6 marks the 104th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, but the impacts of this global conflict were already being felt in New York City. Starting in 1914, panicked markets, inefficient infrastructure, and marauding U-boats caused price shocks and shortages, and the war led directly to the creation of new modes of food distribution, leading to the creation of New York City’s wholesale and retail public market system that still exists today. In this program, we will examine reports from the time period by the city and state Departments and Markets about how new open-air markets were stood up, pushcart peddlers were mobilized to bring food to neighborhoods, and the public was educated to conserve scarce or strategically valuable ingredients.
- The Great War and NYC: Street Vendors and Public Markets
- Dillon, John J., Seven Decades of Milk: A History of New York’s Dairy Industry (1941)
- “The High Cost of Eating: Three Answers to the Problem of Food Shortage” (Independent, Mar 12, 1917)
- Westerville Public Library: Anti-Saloon League Collection
- “Food Will Win the War” (The Library Company of Philadelphia)
- “American School Lunch Is Becoming More Diverse” (Atlas Obscura)
- Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs (National Archives)
Urban Garden Center has been a fixture of Spanish Harlem since the 1950’s, and today their beautiful shop occupies a massive two-block stretch along Park Avenue in the historic La Marqueta. We interviewed third-generation owner Dimitri Gatanas earlier this year to discuss spring plants, and now we’re back to discuss the plants that make the holiday season special. We’ll take a virtual tour of their seasonally-decorated space, learn about Christmas trees and other holiday plants (plus share tips on maintaining them), and discuss how this holiday season will be different from any other.
In preparation for Thanksgiving, join us for this interactive virtual program that will include live visits with vendors at the Lower East Side’s Essex Market and Thanksgiving-themed trivia We will learn about the best places to get all the fixings for your Thanksgiving meal, and how different communities celebrate the holiday and infuse their own culture’s flavors and traditions into the holiday meal. We’ll also be joined by artists Theresa Loong and Laura Nova from Feed Me a Story who will share audio clips of vendors and shoppers from their project documenting Thanksgiving traditions in the market. We will also share how the market is supporting the local community and helping those in need during the holidays. This program is offered in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
- Feed Me A Story Essex Market Audio Tour
- Feed Me A Story: Thanksgiving Edition
- Order a Holiday Gift Box from Essex Market
- Order from Essex Market on Mercato.com
- Don Ceviche
- Valley Shepherd Creamery
- Essex Olive & Spice
- Riverdel Vegan Cheese
- Viva Fruits & Vegetables
- Luna Brothers Fruit Plaza
- Formaggio Essex
- Lower East Side Girls Club, La Tiendita
- Luis Meat Market
Hunts Point in the Bronx is the world’s largest food distribution center, yet few New Yorkers have ever visited. In order to demystify this place and the city’s food system, designers Lilian Yi-Hsuan Lin, Ángel Lamar Oliveras, and Beverly Chou created Race to Hunts Point, a strategy board game designed for high school students in which players must use resources to successfully operate cultivation, shipping, and trading processes in the food supply chain. In this virtual program, Lilian will walk us through the design, fabrication, and gameplay of Race to Hunts Point, which was created through the FWRD Fellowship for designers and engineers with NYCEDC’s Futureworks.
During the pandemic, as many as two million New Yorkers are struggling with food insecurity, a longstanding challenge that has been exacerbated by the crisis. In this virtual program, we will be joined by Dr. Eliza Whiteman Kinsey, Associate Research Scientist at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, who will provide historical perspective on food access in New York City and nationally.
In celebration of Lower East Side History Month, this virtual program will explore how the neighborhood has weathered difficult times, including stories of mutual aid, charity, and resilience shared from the Museum at Eldridge Street’s archives and by historian Sarah Litvin. At the end of the program, we will interview staff from the LES Partnership about their current efforts to bring together government, business, and community-based resources to support the needs of local residents. This program is hosted by Turnstile Tours in partnership with the LES Partnership, the Museum at Eldridge Street, and Dr. Sarah Litvin, Director of the Reher Center for Immigrant Culture and History.
In celebration of Lower East Side History Month, join us for a conversation with Theresa Loong, Laura Nova, and Sarah Kramer about Feed Me A Story’s video and audio documentation of Essex Market that explores what it means to be an American through questions like, “What is your favorite childhood food?” or “What was the first recipe you learned to cook?” We’ll be listening together to clips from their recently launched audio walk of the market, watching videos that feature stories and family recipes from vendors and customers alike, and inviting viewers to share the ingredients and dishes that spark their own stories and memories of family and community.
Learn the history of Brooklyn’s Moore Street Market and join a live broadcast with market manager Egaudy Gomez, who will take us on a virtual tour of the market to meet the vendors, hear their stories, and learn about what they are making and selling during this time of crisis, including businesses that are collaborating to make Puerto Rican- and Dominican-themed protective masks. Built in 1941 as part of a city-wide network of public retail markets, today “La Marqueta de Williamsburg” is a neighborhood institution, known by local residents for family-owned businesses selling herbal teas, beverages, gift items, and traditional ingredients like tubers and plantains, as well as prepared food vendors with lunch counters that serve up flavorful Latin dishes.
Friends Matthew Chappina and Jason Cruz first started slinging sandwiches at the food festival Smorgasburg. Inspired by classic NYC bodega sandwiches, they created Heros & Villains using fresh, high-quality ingredients and house-made sauces. The venture was such a success that they moved into a permanent location at the new Essex Market, where they use a nearby butcher for their meats and craft every sandwich from scratch. We’ll chat with Matthew about the inspiration of the business, what it’s like being part of the Essex Market community, and get to see him make their legendary fried chicken sandwich for us.