Thanksgiving Shopping at the Essex Street Market

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.>> Continue reading

Fishmongers of the Essex Street 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.>> Continue reading

Mayor LaGuardia and the War on Sidewalk Christmas Tree Sellers

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?>> Continue reading