Essex Street Market…Development done Right
The first building we rebuilt in NYC went up against Landmarks who wanted us to keep a round colored paned window from a supposed famous Architect of that period. We did and in retrospect, I applaud Landmarks for forcing us to do so. Although it ends up that the architect was not who they thought it was, it kept a part of old New York and that is commendable.
We love walking the city. The architecture, the people, the old carriage houses, the winding streets of Greenwich Village, new spots and old spots.
The old Essex Street Market stood there for almost 80 years before the city closed the old space after a failed attempt by the NYCEDC to revitalize it. The original opened in 1940 as a public market where people did their shopping until the rise of grocery stores. It was sad to see it close a few years ago. As we walked by the old building en route to the shiny new Essex Street Market across the street, I wondered why they did not revitalize that building as they did with Grand Central Market in LA.
Then I walked into the new Essex Street Market and changed my mind. Someone was paying attention to this development. Insanely well curated with old vendors and new. They are listening to the importance of community and how do you create it in retail areas? You do it with other amenities from a barber shop, to homeopathic products to an art space, to live music where people can dance, to an area to take classes, to spots to sit down and eat, to vendors that represent the community. Bravo!
The EDC was paying attention, city planning was paying attention and community members were paying attention. This new Essex Street Market has become a new member the NYC landscape overnight.
Then we go uptown to the dreaded Hudson Mall where city planning gave the wand to the developers. It doesn’t feel part of the city but more like a piece of Disney world with abundant tourism and no purchases being made. What a lost opportunity. Terrible architecture, no connection to the community, boring, bland and above all extremely ugly. It slays me and makes me so mad.
What a pleasant feeling to be delighted by a development done right. These days it seems like very little is done with the community in mind and this market feels so good. Hats off NYCEDC for not giving up on a new Essex Street Market. The developers, marketers, contractors, architects, and financial partners. Finally, development done right.