After more than 70 years on the Lower East Side, Essex Street Market will be getting a makeover in the form of new management and outdoor seating.
Following approval from Community Board 3 on Tuesday night, Essex Street Market is discussing adopting a not-for-profit management structure that will hopefully help stabilize the long-suffering bazaar. While the Economic Development Corporation will still deal with general oversight and lease approval, the board is also looking for a locally based non-profit to take control of day-to-day operations. CB members were happy to point out that this structure has been working well for markets throughout the country, and for our neighbors in Boston and Philadelphia.
This is good news for the market and for its vendors, who formed the Essex Street Market Vendors Association in 2012 to combat falling sales due to the management’s poor planning and coordination. While the association included representatives from the ECD, the Community Board, local officials, and the Lower East Side Business Improvement District, they needed to make bigger changes if the market was going to stay afloat.
In addition to their management overhaul, Essex Street Market could potentially get a new street-seating plan, which will increase foot traffic for the market and give the general public more street space. While community boards often bristle at outdoor seating proposals, members stressed that the market is a neighborhood institution and of great historical importance—unlike, say, a rowdy pastry shop.
The proposed street seats would cover the market’s northern entrances on the east side of Essex Street between Rivington and Delancey. The space will be no longer than seventy feet and no wider than wider than seven feet. The board suggested that those with parking concerns could find spots for comparable prices at the nearby DOT garage between Essex and Ludlow.
In the next few years, the market is expected to move to a new complex at 115 Delancey Street.
Outdoor seating will begin no later than April 1st, and end by early November.