New Amsterdam Market, Bond St. between Broadway and Lafayette St., September 5 was the announcement in the Updated CB#2 July Hearing Calendar of July 10.
Having met Robert LaValva, the head of New Amsterdam Market, at the NoHo BID Annual Meeting in June where it was announced that the NoHo BID was considering sponsorship of a Farmers Market, we were surprised to see it as a late entry on CB#2’s calendar so soon. But here’s what we learned at the Sidewalks and Street Permits Committee meeting on July 13:
- The application is for 12 months (renewable), Saturday’s only, not just one day as one might surmise by the announcement. The Sept 5th date is provisional – it may start later.
- The applicant (NOHO NY BID) has requested full street closure (Bond St. from Broadway to Lafayette St.)
- New Amsterdam Market is the producer. They do have a good reputation for sightly and CLEAN venues focussed on “purveyors.” [See reference material below]
- 30-40 Carts/Booths would be placed in the parking lanes (north and south)
- The hours are: 8-9AM set up; public hours 9AM-5PM; 5-6pm strike down and clean up
- The NoHo BID will provide clean-up services till 6pm
- Trucks and vehicles used to bring in equipment and merchandise will be parked at the Edison lot during the day; space for two trucks on Bond St. or in Jones Alley was requested
- A rendering of small carts/booths with umbrella’s was presented as a concept drawing
- Merchandise and suppliers: There was no specific list of vendors but the emphasis was on local purveyors of cheese and imported cheese; fish; meat; breads; prepared foods and sandwiches; condiments and some organic produce from farms in upstate NY, CT, and VT
CB#2’s Sidewalks and Street Activities Committee has asked that the NoHo BID return in August to provide a more fleshed out plan and evidence of NoHo endorsement. We encourage testimony – written or in person. Inquire here. We will send instructions or forward your testimony.
While we are not opposed to the New Amsterdam concept for nurturing small eco-sustaining business, there are some local factors to consider before adding a BID sponsored commercial enterprise on public streets with an existing balanced mix of business and residential uses:
- Full street closure every Saturday – on weekends Bond St. is the pressure valve for congestion on Broadway at Bleecker and at Houston, particularly for anyone wishing to go east or north
- Weekly inconvenience to residents and to businesses on that block: street chaos at opening and closing; truck unloading and loading during set-up and strike down; blocking of residential and business entrances; inability of residents to pick up or drop off at their doors
- Competition with local brick and mortar vendors – NoHo’s restaurants and cafes would be the most affected by the probably dominant prepared food and sandwich vendors and the tables and chairs for patrons depicted in the renderings
- Will the increased traffic (500 patrons was the mentioned figure) of food purchasing visitors be complimentary to the other surrounding businesses. The NoHo BID’s purpose for establishing this market is to increase traffic and commerce for its member businesses
- The full year permit for an untried enterprise opens the door for other potential uses of the NOHO BID’s franchise, possibly including other vendors or events in the space should New Amsterdam not find this profitable enough to continue or to do on a weekly basis. Though much larger, their venture at the South Street Seaport was not sustainable
- While a true Farmers Market could be a boon to NoHo’s many notable chefs, the limited quantities of fresh produce and its Saturday only delivery might not present enough advantage financially or operationally to offset the loss of Saturday lunches
There could be some win-win solutions, however:
- Location: reduce footprint to Bond St. between Broadway and Jones Alley (CB2 seems to favor this outcome)
- Alternate Location: Move it to Crosby St. between Houston and Bleecker – less residential inconvenience, quiet and protected street, well-traveled pedestrian streets, north and south, proximity to all the trains at Broadway/Lafayette Station
- If on Bond, allow vendors access to parking lane and patrons use of the sidewalk; leave roadbed open to traffic
- Offerings: No sale of foods meant to be consumed on sight; no tables and chairs (reducing impact on restaurants, sidewalk cafes and other cafes)
- 3-Month permit which can be renewed – or expanded – upon CB#2 hearing and review
- Stipulation that the permit is granted to NOHO BID solely for New Amsterdam Market, no other events or producers
- Requirement, as with all other street permits, that the applying nonprofit state and commit to a “community” give back from the proceeds. In this case restoration of Belgian Block on Bond St.
Description of Previous Market at South St. Seaport: New Amsterdam Market is comprised of retail and wholesale vendors including butchers, grocers, mongers, farmers and provisioners, bakers and distributors, brokers, importers, and sellers of cooked foods. The market follows a local tradition, set by the market halls of old New York, but reinvented for our present time and needs. – See more at: http://www.downtownny.com/node/11040?mini=calendar%2F2015-7#sthash.LSCdcnbN.dpuf