Volume 23, Number 4 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 4 - 10, 2010
BPC Green market to come, black cars should move on
BY John Bayles
He arrived without any of the board members recognizing him. He left having made a lasting impression and with the full committee in his corner.
If it were up to Michael Hurwitz, director of Grow NYC’s Greenmarket, and to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee, community residents would have a new green market next week.
“They were overwhelmingly supportive,” said Hurwitz. “CB 1 has always shown support for us and having markets in the downtown area.”
However, before the new green market can become a reality, the issue that arises anytime Hurwitz approaches a community about opening a new market, must be resolved. And that issue is parking.
In order for the farmers and other purveyors who sell their produce and goods at the popular markets to do so, they have to truck it in. And, they have to park those trucks somewhere for up to 10 hours a day in some instances before loading them up at the end of the day.
“There is no neighborhood in New York City where parking is not a problem,” said Hurwitz. “There is no neighborhood where parking is not a premium.”
“Parking is crucial,” he continued. “If there wasn’t a parking consideration, then we’d start next week.”
Currently, Greenmarket has a market at Zuccotti Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week. But Hurwitz said their operation at Zuccotti Park did not “represent what they believe a farmer’s market should be.” He informed the committee on Tuesday that Greenmarket has been exploring moving its Thursday market from Zuccotti to the circular area in front of the 2 World Financial Center building.
Committee Chair Linda Belfer asked why the Zuccotti location wasn’t “working” and Hurwitz said it came down to a matter of space.
Presently he’s limited to only 70 feet at Zuccotti, which translates to seven tents. At the new location, they anticipate anywhere from 15 to 20 tents.
“When there are less [tents], people just look and walk by,” said Hurwitz.
At the Greenwich and Chambers Streets location, the farmers are allowed “to sell right out of their trucks” which are “parked curbside,” according to Hurwitz. That’s the norm for over 90 percent of the markets - the farmers sell out of their trucks either curbside or in a park location such as Union Square or in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.
The committee has long desired a green market in BPC.
“We’ve been discussing it for a very long time,” said Belfer.
Prior to 9/11 the committee was pushing for Greenmarket to come to BPC, but Belfer felt the organization was hesitant because the north end of the community was not yet opened and the south end was not fully developed. She said Greenmarket didn’t feel there was enough critical mass to support a BPC location.
That, however, has changed as Lower Manhattan is now one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city and BPC is almost completely developed. But what the community really wants is a Saturday market. And Hurwitz was hesitant to make any promises on a Saturday location but said the spot in front of the 2 World Financial Center would be perfect for a weekend market as well. He said he wants to use the new Thursday market, which could start as early as next month, as a test in terms of the market’s clientele and in terms of its relationship with Brookfield Properties, which owns the building.
“It bridges the north and south communities and it’s close to other activities,” said Hurwitz of the location.
Hurwitz anticipates needing enough parking to accommodate 8 to ten trucks at the new market. And after Tuesday’s meeting he took a walk with one of the committee’s public members, Percy Corcoran, to look at two spots that were discussed as viable amongst the committee. There was consensus that no residential parking should be affected.
Currently, there is no parking allowed on Liberty Street and no standing signs posted on the sidewalk. But, there is always a bevy of “black cars,” according to the committee that park there. The same situation occurs on South End Avenue, where parking is allowed after 6 p.m. on the weekends but not at all during the week.
“We are plagued with the limousines that take up a lot of space on our streets,” said Belfer. “This has been going on since the World Financial Center opened.”
In Belfer’s eyes, if the police are not “shooing” the limousines away, then the farmer’s trucks should be fine there as well. As far as weekends go, she predicated that come 6 p.m. most of the farmers would be packing up and heading home.