Barbarini Alimentari

Barbarini Alimentari at the New Amsterdam Market. [Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

The city council is voting later this month on the fate of the South Street Seaport and the Fulton Fish Market. The vote concerns a rezoning proposal that would allow the developer of the Pier 17 mall to renovate the area—which includes the Fish Market—for larger retail development. Which would mean, among other things, that the New Amsterdam Market, the Seaport's open air market and incubator for local and upstate food businesses and farms, would be without a home.

The fish market moved to the Bronx in 2005, but the remaining site is one of the city's oldest open market spaces, dating back to 1822. The New Amsterdam Market's organizers are trying to keep it that way, and have launched a petition requesting that public space within the seaport stay public, and that the Fulton Fish Market and Tin Building sites become dedicated landmark spaces protected from future development. They propose the sites be used as a public market, and will be voicing their feelings at the council's public hearing on March 14th.

This is the third installment we've seen recently in the continuing back and forth between food-centric markets and new developers. The NYC Economic Development Corporation is hearing proposals to relocate the Essex Street Market (though they promise to reinstate it in a new location nearby), and the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn had to leave its open air space when the property's owner set out to developing it.

The City Council's office couldn't be reached for comment.

Tell us: what do you want to see happen at the Seaport?

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