New York's gastronomic scene can rival any city in the world, but it's missing one crucial piece: an iconic food market.
"There is nothing like a grand urban food market, which can anchor a neighborhood and even a city," argues Bittman. "Think of the 120-year-old Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia; the Ferry Building in San Francisco, which 10 years ago helped revitalize the Embarcadero; and the ever-popular Pike Place Market in Seattle."
"New York … well, the grandest market 'we' have is 80 miles away, in Philadelphia."
However, he gushes, "[s]uch an opportunity exists at the site of the former Fulton Fish Market." The seasonal New Amsterdam Market, started by Robert LaValva, a former city planner, and others, operates in front of the former fish market buildings on Sundays from April to December.
"The fish market site – there are two buildings on it – would make an ideal permanent New Amsterdam market, something that could become our city’s version of the Borough Market, Pike Place, Reading or even Barcelona’s incredible La Boqueria. (I can dream, no?) It’s a vision that can happen – and LaValva and others are pushing for it – but it won’t come easily."
"A hearing this Thursday (March 14) before the Zoning Sub-Committee of the Land Use Committee of the New York City Council will to a large extent determine whether that vision is feasible."