Volume 23, Number 11 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 21 - 27, 2010

Lower Manhattan leaders cut the ribbon on the World Financial Center Greenmarket. Left to right: Battery Park City Authority President and CEO James E. Cavanaugh; Alliance for Downtown New York President Elizabeth H. Berger; Chairperson of Community Board 1 Julie Menin; GrowNYC Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz; New York State Senator Daniel Squadron; Brookfield Properties President and CEO of U.S. Commercial Operations Dennis Friedrich; New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

A green thumbs up for new BPC market

BY Joseph Rearick

Last Thursday morning an odd sound filled the air at the plaza outside Two World Financial Center at 225 Liberty Street: live banjo music. Heralding the official opening of NYC’s newest greenmarket, the tune promised the injection of rural vibes into that location every Thursday until Thanksgiving.

The World Financial Center Greenmarket is the latest project undertaken by Grow NYC, a not-for-profit that organizes dozens of greenmarkets around the city. Grow NYC’s greenmarket director, Michael Hurwitz, along with representatives from Brookfield Properties, owner of the World Financial Center, and a host of local politicians, welcomed 10 vendors and a few eager customers to the market’s inaugural session. With attractive goods in every stall, several speakers expressed their enthusiasm for the market before an official ribbon cutting.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke about the significance of the greenmarket’s introduction after the World Trade Center greenmarket, once open on Tuesdays and Thursdays beside the Twin Towers, was made impossible by the attacks of September 11th. He called the greenmarket “a testament to the spirit of residents who have revived the greenmarket we lost on September 11th,” and spoke of his hopes of “amenities such as these bringing people into the streets to meet their neighbors.”

Julie Menin, chairperson of Community Board 1, also noted the greenmarket as a significant milestone in Lower Manhattan’s recovery and spoke to the community board’s desire, as well as her own, to make the greenmarket possible.

“Just eight years ago our community was devastated. I can’t think of a better way to honestly commemorate 9/11,” said Menin, adding, “You’ll find me here every Thursday with my kids.”

Beth Linskey of Beth’s Farm Kitchen, one of the vendors, related to the speakers’ sentiments.

“We’re back; we were in the Trade Center market,” she recalled and said she was thankful she was not selling her jams and chutneys on the day of the attacks. “I’m just happy to be back and I hope it works well.”

Brian Callahan, a vendor representing Suhru wines, a Long Island winery, praised the space as an ideal location for a greenmarket.

“We’ve got business people and residential all at a single place, so we get great exposure,” he said, particularly mentioning the convenience of a wine vendor outside the World Financial Center. “A lot of people stop by with the intention of picking up wine elsewhere and now they can just get it here.”

For Hurwitz the spot represents a real opportunity to foster a healthy greenmarket, especially given the warm reception his opening received from the area’s politicians, including Menin, Silver, and State Senator Daniel Squadron.

“From a residential perspective,” he said, “our markets are known for being supported by the community in which they’re located.”

Support for this market came from Brookfield Properties, the Community Board and especially from the Battery Park City Authority, which provided an essential resource: parking.

“Battery Park City Authority actually gave up some of their parking, which is huge,” said Hurwitz, who said the project would have been impossible without the necessary parking spots for vendors’ trucks. “The site allowed us to do everything we wanted to do; it would be accessible and utilized.”

He noted the relative ease of working in this location as opposed to nearby Zucotti Park, where Grow NYC provides another greenmarket that is restricted by the park’s regulations.

“The market at Zucotti Park has been a challenge,” he admitted. “We’re limited to a certain number of feet; we can’t grow.”

In front of Two World Financial Center, however, there is plenty of available space for more vendors. “We’re looking to bring in a little more meat, a little more [produce],” he said. “We’ll start there.”

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