NYCEDC, Lower East Side BID Recognize the 75th Anniversary of the Historic Essex Street Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side
Giant Block Party Marks End of Month-Long Celebration of the Essex Street Market, Vendors and its Contributions to the Surrounding Community
New York, NY – The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) in partnership with the Lower East Side Business Improvement District (LESBID) and the Lower East Side community today recognized the 75th anniversary of the Essex Street Market. Today’s giant block party marked the end of a month-long series of events showcasing the Market vendors and the rich history of one of the city’s premier cultural destinations. Currently, the Market boasts a wide range of culinary products from a diverse array of vendors, including bakers, chocolatiers, meat purveyors, grocers, restaurateurs and others.
“The Essex Street Market has been a cornerstone of the Lower East Side and cultural destination for decades," said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. "Over the past month, we have celebrated our local vendors, restaurants and reflected on the incredible history of the people and neighborhood that have helped this Market grow, thrive and evolve with the passage of time. At EDC, we could not be happier to support the continued growth of the Essex Street Market and wish it another 75 years of success. Congratulations to the LESBID, the Market and its vendors on this important milestone and thank you to our local elected officials for their work to keep the Market going strong for generations to come."
"The story of the Essex Street Market embodies the unique history of economic growth in the Lower East Side, from pushcarts to storefronts, small merchants remain the cornerstone of our local economy," said Tim Laughlin, Executive Director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. He continued, "We look forward to the continued success of the Market and it's merchants as they transition to a new state-of-the art facility that will anchor transformative mixed-use development within our community."
NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball was joined by Councilmember Margaret Chin, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, LESBID Executive Director Tim Laughlin, Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Lee, the Essex Street Market Vendor Association, and supporters and patrons from the Lower East Side community. Over 1,000 New Yorkers attended today’s event, which included live music and food from vendors such as Luca and Bosco, Nordic Preserves, Rainbo’s Fish & Tra la la Juice Bar, Roni-Sue’s Chocolates and Saxelby Cheesemongers, as well as local chefs from Cafe Katja, An Choi and Spur Tree.
“There’s an unmistakable pulse within the Essex Street Market — it’s unique, it’s vibrant, and it’s the heartbeat of the Lower East Side,” said City Councilmember Margaret Chin. “After 75 years, that pulse remains as strong as ever, and every trip to the Market is just another reminder of the powerful diversity of this community. Even as we pause to celebrate this milestone, we know that our work is ensuring that the Market’s future is bright enough to sustain another 75 years and more. I thank the vendors of the Essex Street Market for continuing to be among the best in our city, I thank NYCEDC and the Lower East Side BID for their tireless commitment to the Market, and I look forward to continuing this incredible partnership.”
“The Essex Street Market’s 75-year story shows how history, culture, and commerce are woven together in our city,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “For successive generations of New Yorkers, including generations of Jewish, Italian, and Puerto Rican immigrants, this market has helped to define – and been defined by – the identity of its Lower East Side community.”
"There's no better way to celebrate 75 years of delicious treats and community engagement at the Essex Street Market than a blowout Lower East Side block party," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "From its creation under Mayor LaGuardia, to its future at Essex Crossing, the historic Essex Street Market is a place New Yorkers have embraced as a food destination, community institution and economic hub of the Lower East Side. I will keep pushing with vendors, the City, community partners and my colleagues to ensure the Essex Street Market serves New Yorkers delectable eats for another 75 years."
“I could not be more pleased to be here today to celebrate a place that has been an integral part of the Lower East Side community for the past 75 years,” said Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. This momentous occasion demonstrates that there continues to be a strong commitment to the market and the vendors, and I commend NYCEDC, the Lower East Side BID, and the vendors for their hard work in coordinating this exciting event. I wish the market a happy birthday and I hope the vendors and the market will continue to flourish in the years to come.”
“The Essex Street Retail Market is our living history and contemporary home for local Lower East Side businesses,” said Community Board 3 Chari Gigi Lee. “The Market was built by Florello LaGuardia as a home for pushcart merchants We are proud that Community Board 3 has played a role in securing the modern continuation of this market in Essex Crossing. I am very pleased to be here on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Market to celebrate its history and place in enriching our community.”
The block party marked the end of a month-long series of events that looked back at the rich and vibrant history of Essex Street Market, celebrated the importance of the vendors today, and looked forward to the exciting future ahead. These included photo and art exhibitions by the LES Girls Club and Artists Alliance, Inc., a miLES storytelling project to capture the personal histories and memories of the merchants, and a brunch series featuring meals made solely from ingredients sourced from the Essex Street Market.
Essex Street Market was created by Mayor Fiorella H. LaGuardia in 1940 in an effort to provide street merchants and pushcart vendors with a new place to do businesses. At the time, pushcarts and vendors crowded the city streets, and to ease congestion, Mayor LaGuardia created the Essex Street Market as well as several other indoor retail markets throughout the city. Since then, the Market has grown to reflect the vibrant and diverse Lower East Side community, becoming a place for local business owners and loyal customers to interact. After a period of decline in the 1970s, NYCEDC began to manage the Market in 1992, renovating the facilities, consolidating space and helping to catalyze the Market’s resurgence. Currently, the market boasts 24 unique and diverse vendors, including bakers, chocolatiers, meat vendors, fresh groceries, restaurants and more.
The Essex Street Market has continued to keep pace with a changing neighborhood. As part of the Seward Park Mixed Use Development Project, known as Essex Crossing, the Market will move to a brand new, 28,600 square foot state-of-the-art facility which will allow it to accommodate more vendors and restaurants. Located in the heart of the Lower East Side, Essex Crossing is a 1.65 million square foot mixed-use, mixed-income development project anchored by 1,000 units of housing, 50 percent of which will be permanently affordable for low, moderate, and middle-income households and seniors. The project includes 15,000-square-feet of open space, a community center, a dual-generation school, office space and a diverse mix of retail options. Essex Crossing will transform underutilized land into a vibrant hub for small businesses, local residents and visitors while creating thousands of quality jobs.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
About the LES BID
The Lower East Side Business Improvement District is a not-for-profit economic development organization composed of property owners, merchants, residents and government representatives that work collaboratively to promote the Lower East Side through a variety of constantly evolving programs and dynamic initiatives that seek to improve quality of life while setting the stage for the continued growth and success of the local economy. Find us on Facebook and Twitter or visit lowereastside.org to learn more about our programs and services that range from improving the public realm to producing signature community based events.