Going green: Greenmarket returns to WTC after 16 years

Photo by Tequila Minsky
Jinan Martiuk, who works in the area and loves the chance to shop for lunch and snacks, snaps up some pea pods.

BY COLIN MIXSON

Downtown celebrated another milestone in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan with the return of GrowNYC’s Greenmarket to the World Trade Center on June 20, which returned for the first time since the neighborhood was devastated by the attacks of 9/11.

Photo by Tequila Minsky
GrowNYC’s World Trade Center Greenmarket now sets up under the sheltering wings of the Oculus.

“What’s special about that particular farmers market is it was in existence prior to 9/11,” said real estate guru and Fidi Fan Page author Luis Vazquez. “Symbolically it is a big deal. It brings back a piece of the past.”

Nearly a dozen farms participated in the Greenmarket’s return on Tuesday to its old spot at Church and Fulton streets — in what’s now known as the Oculus Plaza.

Market organizer GrowNYC has made various attempts since the terrorist attacks to reproduce the Greenmarket elsewhere in Lower Manhattan, but the other locations fell flat of the original site’s appeal, according to one farmer.

“We stuck with the Greenmarket as it went to four or five different locations, but it was not feasible and I just had to stop,” said Ken Migliorelli, owner of Migliorelli Farm.

But, with foot traffic coming off the PATH train, tourists, and workers, the crowd at Greenmarket’s grand return to the WTC was sizable and lively, and farmers left with empty trucks and heavy wallets, Migliorelli said.

“It’s strategically located for a lot of foot traffic,” said the farmer. “We did really well, so I think it’s going to end up being a really good market.”

The Downtown that Greenmarket has returned to is much different than the Lower Manhattan it served in 2001, and while the area’s transformation into a residential neighborhood means more customers, it also means Greenmarket is no longer the only grocery game in town. The market now faces competition not only from other farmers markets, but from upscale grocery stores as well, Vazquez noted.

That said, shoppers Downtown have a keen interest in sourcing their produce straight from the farm and Greenmarket has more than a fair chance to find its niche by the WTC.

“People still like to get it directly from the source, so there’s definitely a lot of room for a market like that,” Vazquez said.

Photo by Tequila Minsky
Ken Migliorelli of Migliorelli Farm is glad the Greenmarket has finally returned to its pre-9/11 location at the World Trade Center.

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