This semester I took a class on the South Street Seaport neighborhood in Manhattan. We talked a lot about the imminent development happening in that section of town and the possibilities that may be realized if the city planning commission and city council decide to request more community space. While a lot of suggestions were thrown around, one that everybody involved in the Seaport community continually returned to was the idea of using the New Market Building, the hulking, abandoned warehouse that only ten years ago hosted the Fulton Fish Market, as a new type of food market, similar to Pike’s Place in Seattle or Reading Terminal in my beloved Philadelphia. In light of all the talk of markets, I went to Philly to over Thanksgiving break to partake in the market experience that New York frankly lacks. Philly has two very strong, traditional public markets: the Italian Market on 9th St., and Reading Terminal in the Reading Railroad’s old terminal building on 12th st.
Both of these are great markets. While they’re quite different (one is outdoors, the other indoors), they each have a charm that it unique to them and to the city of Philadelphia. They are places where the ancient tradition of buying and selling food thrives. They are places where you can talk with the people that prepare your foods, compare prices from various vendors, bargain for your groceries, and experience a wide variety of new foods. There is something about the marketplace that will simply never get old. Between the trash fires at the Italian Market, and the neon signs at Reading Terminal, one feels like these markets have been here forever and will never change. There is no doubt in my mind that good public markets are essential to the life of any city, and the fact that New York lacks a public market space like those of Philadelphia and other cities bothers me, considering New York is the largest American city and the one that I live in. Hopefully, city council and the mayor will take the suggestions of the Seaport Working Group to heart and create the New Market Building into a food market, and maybe, although I believe I dream, it will be as good as Reading Terminal.
PS. Sorry for taking so long with these photos. I just finished the roll recently. I’m getting more back tomorrow and then I’ll have a smattering of photos to post.