Volume 23, Number 9 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 9 - 15, 2010
Downtown Express photo by Aline Reynolds
A customer buys fresh cherries from salesman Tenzin Rinzin’s stand on the first day of the World Financial Center Greenmarket in Battery Park City last Thursday.
New BPC market gets green thumbs up
By Aline Reynolds
Residents and workers of Battery Park City can get fresh fruits, veggies and wine samplings at a local outdoor greenmarket that’s now right in their backyard.
The World Financial Center Greenmarket attracted over 500 residents last Thursday, its opening day in World Financial Center plaza in Battery Park City.
“It [customer flow] was very consistent today - there were mostly peaks, especially considering that it was sprung on [everyone] out of the blue,” said Craig Willingham, marketing manager of the W.F.C. greenmarket. Willingham noted the market was organized ad hoc without much publicity.
On day one, the market, which consists of ten produce, wine and flower booths, got especially busy during lunch breaks and in the late afternoon, when nearby residents were coming home from work.
The three-booth Zuccotti Park greenmarket, located across the street from the World Trade Center site, was cut from two days a week to one last week.
“It wasn’t strong enough to maintain the two days,” Willingham said of the Zuccotti greenmarket. “It’s considered a placeholder for farmers until the W.T.C. site is redeveloped,” noting that the foot traffic on the first day at the B.P.C. market was far greater than the turnout on a typical day at Zuccotti.
Though the two markets are only roughly a six-minute-walk apart, Battery Park City has a largely residential population, unlike the area surrounding the World Trade Center, thereby attracting more customers. Zuccoti Park “cater[s] to a different clientele, particularly men in three-piece suits,” said Becca Brenneis, a market manager for Greenmarket N.Y.C.
Chris Conroy, the only farmer present at the market last Thursday, said he had a really good first day - all of his cut flowers were sold out by the afternoon.
“People seem to be excited that we’re here,” he said. “I think we can build on this and have a great market.”
Conroy sells over 100 different varieties of flowers and herbs, including mint, basil, thyme and sage.
“People don’t know Battery Park City for its amenities,” such as outdoor markets, said Gateway Plaza resident Jason King, who had just purchased flowers from Conroy’s stand, along with carrots, muffins and cookies from the other booths. “It’s always nice to have one in the neighborhood,” he added.
“There’s a lot more stuff, and I can buy it on my way home,” Danielle Phillip, who works at the World Financial Center and was previously purchasing produce from the Zuccotti Park greenmarket since its opening shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
King and other passers-by were a bit disappointed with the market’s closing time.
“Six [o’clock] is a little tight - it’d be nice if they could stay open a bit later,” he said, as he hustled with his three-year-old daughter to get to the market before it closed last Thursday.
Wine seller Brian Callahan presented different kinds of Long Island wines, ranging from $10 to $22 per bottle, at his booth. The 2006 Merlot “Widow’s Walk” was the most popular among customers last Thursday. “The busiest time was during lunch hour, when the business folks did some [wine] sampling,” he said.
Not all the market sellers were happy with last Thursday’s turnout.
“The first day was slow,” said Bertha Chasi, a seller of fresh produce. “There was a little business, but not great. I was expecting better.”
But most sellers were pleased with the sales, and Willingham is confident that the greenmarket will grow on its initial success once the word gets out. If all goes well, the market will likely add booths to the southeast side of the plaza.
The city’s greenmarkets are organized by GrowNYC, a nonprofit that provides access to fresh, local produce, in addition to running recycling and environmental education programs.
The World Financial Center greenmarket will be open on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Battery Park City location until the week before Christmas this year.