Lower East Side #4 – The Essex Street Market

September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Essex Street Market, Lower East Side

The Essex Street Market turned 70 this year.  In the land of retail, and of food, that’s pretty amazing, and it’s history is worth mentioning:

Essex Street Market began in 1940 as part an effort by Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia to find a new place for street merchants to do business. At the time, pushcarts and vendors crowded the city streets, making it difficult for police and fire vehicles to easily pass. To ease congestion, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market and several other indoor retail markets throughout the city.

The market evolved, and eventually fell out of favor for a time, when supermarkets were all the rage, before experiencing the benefit of renewed interest in the Lower East Side.

In recent years, many new residents have again moved to the Lower East Side, causing another shift in the character of the neighborhood.  Infusing a new vitality and more money into the area, these residents bring new expectations for the Market.  They value the rich cultural and historical traditions of the neighborhood and also seek a wider variety of culinary products.

To some degree, their success has certainly been a case of a “rising tide raising all boats.”  In this case, it’s well-deserved: fruits, vegetables, cheese, bread, fish, meat, chocolates, cupcakes, heck. there’s even a barber.  The list of merchants includes: Jeffrey’s Meats; New Star Fish Market; Pain D’Avignon; Essex Farm Groceries; and Formaggio Essex.  And there are two “Eateries,” Essex Restaurant and Shopsins General Store.  The prices are good, the food is fresh, and whenever I’m there, it’s busy.

Located at the corner of Essex and Delancey, the market is open Monday through Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (closed on Sunday), and is easily accessible by subway (J, M, Z, F, V ) and bus (M9, M14A, and B39 ).

If you do visit, you will no doubt eat well.

Essex Street Market, Everyday Food Needs

Essex Street Market, Meat

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