Yesterday, at the historic site of the old Fulton Fish Market, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn held a press conference to announce the launch of "NYers 4 Markets," a coalition to support the development of a permanent market at this very location in South Street Seaport.
The proposed permanent market would host all types of vendors from regional farmers to artisan producers. "We need to revitalize food markets, and have a permanent food market at South Street Seaport that meets the needs of residents, brings in tourism and jobs for New Yorkers," said Quinn. The project would be less like the ever-popular NYC Greenmarkets and more akin to the Pike Place Market in Seattle, which sees nine million visitors each year - an exciting prospect from an economic revitalization standpoint.
Quinn made certain to emphasize the economic benefits of developing this market, one being potential job creation, explaining that "the food system is an economic engine that can put people to work". Regional producers and small businesses would surely benefit from the platform of a permanent market, but it would also contribute to the economic growth of the South Street Seaport area.
The Fulton Fish Market site received some attention over the past few years when the New Amsterdam Market emerged, a monthly market showcasing regional farmers and artisan producers. The New Amsterdam Market comprises over 120 producers- from farmers to butchers to cheese mongers. Now a 501c3, they fought hard to establish their presence as a monthly market on this site.
Quinn has been a staunch ally in the effort to make the New York City food economy a priority of the city council, constantly advocating for "food that’s nutritious and affordable in every neighborhood in New York City." Most recently, Quinn was integral in the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which invests $1 billion to help build grocery stores in underserved neighborhoods around NYC. In fact, she mentioned that some of these funds could also potentially be used to develop the permanent market.
The creation of a permanent market at the Fulton Fish Market site would serve New Yorkers in countless ways. The most difficult to measure, but perhaps most important, would be building community. In city as large and bustling as our Big Apple, this prospect excites us most of all.