Struggle and Resilience on Manhattan’s Lower East Side | Free Virtual Program

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.

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Unsung Heros & Villains: The Sandwich Kings of Essex Market | Virtual Program

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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.

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From Orchard to Essex: Street Peddlers and Market Vendors with the Tenement Museum

PAST PROGRAM | Virtual Programs

When Essex Street Market opened in 1940, it was heralded as a new era for commerce, as the city promised to clear the streets of pushcart peddlers and provide a clean, orderly space for shoppers. Many former street vendors set up shop in the new market’s 475 stalls, but New Yorkers lamented the loss of the pushcarts that had filled the streets of the Lower East Side for nearly a century. Together with the Tenement Museum, we’ll explore the evolution of the market itself and the stories of the vendors who made it their home. The history of the Essex Street Market and its businesses have always been a reflection of the immigration and migration to the Lower East Side and during this virtual visit, we’ll meet vendors of the past, and drop-in live to the new Essex Market to talk with its vendors of today.

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A Year in Review at Essex Market | Virtual Program

The first and second floors of the Essex Market with a historic neon sign from the Orchard Essex Meat Market

PAST PROGRAM | Virtual Programs

On May 13, 2019, Essex Market moved from its 1940 building to a new home at Essex Crossing, opening a new chapter in the market’s history by adding 13 new vendors, a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, robust public seating, and tripling the market’s footprint. Despite the change in venue, Essex Market remains dedicated to its mission to serve the Lower East Side with fresh, affordable and high-quality food. On this virtual tour of the market, we will look back at the last year, which began with a flurry of excitement, but we enter Year Two with a completely different sense of “business as usual.” Learn about the historic move and get a first-hand look at how market vendors are adapting to the new state of affairs and keeping their businesses going. We’ll go live to the market with Community Manager Lauren Margolis, who will introduce us to some of the vendors and share the measures put in place so everyone can continue shopping safely.

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The History of NYC Public Markets, Part 1 | Virtual Program

PAST PROGRAM | Virtual Programs

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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New York City’s Public Markets, Past and Present

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

Russ & Daughters at the Brooklyn Navy Yard

A bright but old-fashioned looking neon sign at a retail shop that has a fish graphics and reads Russ and Daughters Bagels and Lox appetizing since 1914

Founded in 1914 on the Lower East Side by Jewish immigrant Joel Russ, Russ & Daughters is a New York institution. Now a fourth-generation business run by Joel’s great-grandchildren Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman, they have expanded from their Houston Street store to cafés on Orchard Street and at the Jewish Museum, and now a new retail store, company headquarters, and commercial bakery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Food Manufacturing Hub at Building 77. Here they serve their impeccable selection of perfectly-sliced smoked and cured fish, and their fresh-from-the-oven baked goods like bagels, rugelach, black and white cookies, challah, and more. Come stock up on nosh essentials, or grab a bagel sandwich for breakfast or lunch.

Building 77, 141 Flushing Ave // Open Every Day, 8:30am–4:30pm // More Info

PIX11 News: History of Food Carts and Vendors in NYC is Celebrated

Pix News logo with white text on blue background and an image that looks like the symbol for a pause button

PIX 11 News, aired November 29, 2017

by Greg Mocker

Greg Mocker of PIX 11 News not only attended our panel discussion at the Museum at Eldridge Street, which included panelists from the Street Vendor Project, 800BuyCart, Cinnamon Snail, Veronica’s Kitchen, and moderated by our own Cindy VandenBosch, he also made sure that he tried some street food from Midtown’s Royal Halal, one of our favorites.

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The Great War and NYC: Street Vendors and Public Markets

A mail truck transformed into a market wagon carrying food

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

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

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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