The New Amsterdam Market is over and will not return to its place at the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market. In a scathing email, Founder Robert LaValva announced the closure of the market, which had operated in the Lower Manhattan spot since December 16th of 2007. "We held a total 88 markets and numerous innovative celebrations of our region's bounty; supported nearly 500 food entrepreneurs; and contributed to the creation of more than 350 jobs," LaValva proclaimed. The last market was held on Saturday, June 21st of this year.
As for the reasons behind the closure, LaValva said the following:
I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive. Furthermore, we were dealt a mortal blow in 2013 when Council Member Chin, who had long professed to support our cause, betrayed the community in favor of a suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes. As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost more than one acre of beloved and irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming and terrible waterfront design.
He's referring to plans for a redesign of Pier 17 and the two new food markets, dine-in movie theater and other amenities slated to debut once construction is completed. We reached out to Council Member Chin for comment about the closure of the market and LaValva's accusation of betrayal. Her response:
Like many other members of our Lower Manhattan community, I was sorry to learn this morning that the New Amsterdam Market has ended. Aside from that, it would be an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed by Robert LaValva’s email attacking me as part of his announcement of the closure.
After speaking with a member of the New Amsterdam Market’s board of directors, I quickly confirmed that Mr. LaValva’s email this morning was sent without the approval or knowledge of the New Amsterdam Market board. In fact, I have a great relationship with the board, as its members will attest, and I look forward to continuing to work them in order to keep the market going for the good of our community.
Mr. LaValva’s claim that I have “betrayed the community” regarding the market and the Seaport is false.
Instead, here are some facts: I proudly helped secure funding from the City Council and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in order to support the New Amsterdam Market. I made sure to provide Mr. LaValva and the New Amsterdam Market with opportunities to formalize his relationship with the City.
Now, Mr. LaValva is trying to publicly blame me for something that he could have prevented by working more collaboratively with my office and the City. That might make for an attention-grabbing email, but it’s not the truth.
This makes what's happening behind the scenes at the market a bit more muddy; we reached out to the board of directors—which includes Chef April Bloomfield—and we'll update if we hear back.
Although sad, it's not altogether surprising that the Market has disintegrated. There had been rumors of its demise, especially after development plans were secured for the site. There's no word on whether the market will seek a new location or if it's truly done forever.