It’s the old David and Goliath New York development story. David, in this case, is the New Amsterdam Market fighting the Goliath developers (Howard Hughes Corporation) to preserve the old Fulton Fish Market to be used as a market for food vendors, farmers and producers.
It’s a worthwhile vision and one that’s worth fighting for, especially in a city where change happens so quickly that sometimes we tear down important pieces of history only to lament our actions years later.
I went to check out the New Amsterdam Market recently in advance of a fundraiser that was scheduled for this week. That fundraiser got postponed but I went anyway.
For now, the New Amsterdam Market takes place under the FDR directly in front of the old Fulton Fish Market which looms over the whole scene like an old ballplayer pining to get back in the game. Of course, no one really knows if that will happen. I’d like to see that happen.
The most thorough piece about the fight over the Fulton Fish Market building is in the Times: Duel at the Old Fulton Fish Market.
The gist is this: The old Fulton Fish Market building is city owned and has been sitting vacant for almost ten years since the tenants moved their fish operation up to the Bronx. LaValva’s vision is for a community market. The Howard Hughes sees a hotel development.
And of course, it’s prime real estate.
From the Times article, LaValva is quoted saying:
“As of now, the city considers the Fish Market a real estate redevelopment site. We are saying it is a public asset which needs to be preserved and rehabilitated. We first want to convince the city to preserve the buildings, and then find funding from a variety of sources.”
For now, it looks the hotel goes forward. How much of the seaport is altered and whether New Amsterdam Market get’s a home is unknown. Curbed’s latest update details a lot of community anger over the 50-story tower and raises a lot of questions.
This we know: New York’s food industry is booming. It’s one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors in the City, and that’s separate from the City’s food service industry sector. A food market would be a strong investment for any player, whether it be NYC, Howard Hughes or the New Amsterdam Market.
For now, the market is full of fresh greens, fish, cheese and so many good sausages.