Public Market on the Chopping Block in New York City

New York City has made a controversial decision to shut down a Latin American public market -- one of the last of a dying breed of public markets in the city.

"After winning a one-year reprieve from their landlord - the City of New York - the market's 13 merchants may find themselves forced out by June if the city moves forward with a plan to demolish the building and replace it with housing. Although the merchants have been offered buyouts and the option of relocating their shops to a strip of storefronts in a public housing development, they want to stay put."

"The city's Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the market, said low rents and high overhead have resulted in a deficit of more than $1 million over the last four years. Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the city agency, who refused interview requests, issued a brief statement saying that her agency was working with local elected officials to explore options. She would not say what those options were."

"Moore Street is one of four surviving public markets that were built during the Depression to get pushcarts off crowded and unsanitary streets. Now, the city appears to have come full circle, wanting to close Moore Street while it promotes a new generation of pushcarts that would take fresh vegetables to poor neighborhoods."

"The city's other markets have weathered good times and bad. While two of them -Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx and the reborn Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side - are now thriving - East Harlem's Marqueta languishes. The two green sheds underneath the Park Avenue Metro North tracks are deserted and silent, except for the rumble of passing commuter trains. Decades of pipe dreams and political intrigue have turned it into a ghost town, where only six vendors occupy a tiny corner where few customers venture."

"Suzanne Wasserman, director of the Gotham Center for New York City History, said all of the city's markets have struggled since the beginning."

Full Story: A Caribbean Corner of Brooklyn, Fighting to Survive

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