Explore the history of Graham Avenue, Brooklyn’s “Avenue of Puerto Rico” and take an in-depth look at the businesses and people of this community, including the historic Moore Street Market, and the department stores, butcher shops, and pushcarts of the past and present. Turnstile Tours has worked in the neighborhood for more than 10 years, and this program is based on more than 20 oral history interviews with neighborhood residents and local business owners and on original archival research that we will share during this session.>> Continue reading
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Take a deep dive into the history of New York City’s public markets, which have their origins in a vast food distribution system set up by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in the 1930’s. Once encompassing 10 retail markets and nearly as many wholesale facilities, today many of the historic buildings of this era remain, and these markets continue to offer affordable space for food entrepreneurs and fresh, high-quality food for shoppers throughout New York City.
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How do you know if the olive oil in your kitchen is what it says on the bottle? What are the differences between olive oils from different parts of the world? Become an olive oil connoisseur with Saad Bourkadi, owner of Essex Olive & Spice in the Lower East Side’s Essex Market, whose family has been growing olives and producing oil in Morocco for four generations.
This weekend marks the end of an era, as the Essex Street Market will be moving from the building it has occupied since 1940 into a new facility across Delancey St in the Essex Crossing development. The new Essex Market will have nearly all the same vendors as the old market, plus 15 additions, in a larger space that will be more convenient for shoppers and vendors.
The old market building had its own charms, and it represented an important period in New York City’s history, when Mayor Fiorello La Guardia fought to keep food affordable for New Yorkers and to provide indoor space for the city’s growing population of street vendors in the midst of the Great Depression. As we say goodbye to the old market, we are looking back at the history of the city’s public markets, and what happened to the rest of them. >> Continue reading
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off yesterday, and we’re struggling to find a team to support. So we decided to turn to some of the street food and market vendors that we work with to find a substitute for the disappointing USMNT. Of the 32 squads playing in Russia, we’ve whittled it down to these 10 – notice none of them are favorites or powerhouses, just respectable teams with sizable NYC diasporas and delicious food.
One of the highlights of the 2014 World Cup was US goalkeeper Tim Howard’s performance in the first knockout game against Belgium, when he made a World Cup-record 15 saves. The US still lost, and this staggering achievement overshadowed just how spectacularly the Belgians outplayed the Americans. They are a very, very good team in a weak group that seem to have an easy path to at least the quarterfinals (sorry, England). Kevin de Bruyne absolutely smoked the US as a 22-year-old, and now he’s developed into one of the world’s best midfielders.>> Continue reading
Curbed New York, June 14, 2018
by Nathan Kensinger
One of the best ways to savor the final days of the old Essex Street Market is on the weekly walking tour offered by Turnstile Tours, which will be held until mid-September. During one of these recent walks, the diverse culinary offerings of the market were on full display, with participants sampling rare cheeses from Saxelby Cheesemongers and Formaggio Essex, hot bagels from Davidovich Bakery, fresh croissants from Pain D’Avignon, and savory quiche from Nordic Preserves, Fish & Wildlife Company. It was all washed down with a cup of coffee from the Porto Rico Importing Company, whose NYC roots go back to 1907.
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!
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.>> Continue reading
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.
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.