For the past seven years, New Amsterdam Market has provided New Yorkers with locally sourced and produced food, echoing a spirit of public trade and commerce inherent to the city since 1642. Everything from produce, cheese, seafood, ice cream and more was sold at the market to consumers and chefs eager for a bite of New York agronomy.
On Monday, founder Robert LaValva announced that the market would cease to exist, citing lack of financial backers and funding as the main reason for the necessary closure.
In a letter posted on the market’s website LaValva, who started the market in 2005, said the group couldn’t get the necessary funding to keep it running for the rest of the season. LaValva, who couldn’t be reached for immediate comment, blamed city officials for approving the lease of the seaport’s Pier 17 to developer Howard Hughes Corporation, which is in the process of building a major shopping center.
“As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost one acre of irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming,” LaValva wrote.
LaValva singled out Councilwoman Margaret Chin for allegedly not coming to the market’s aid, but the elected official denied that claim in an extensive statement.
“I proudly helped secure funding from the City Council and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in order to support the New Amsterdam Market. I made sure to provide Mr. LaValva and the New Amsterdam Market with opportunities to formalize his relationship with the city,” Chin said.
A spokesperson for the Howard Hughes Corporation said they were surprised by the news, and are in "ongoing discussions to explore new and interim food market opportunities throughout the Seaport district."
Catherine McVay Hughes, the chair of Community Board 1, said she was shocked when she heard the news of the market’s demise, calling it a major asset for the Seaport.
“He took a forlorn, abandoned area and made it a destination for residents and other people interested in locally grown food,” she said.
While fancy food halls seem to be popping up almost as frequently as luxury condo buildings, this closure shows that not all organizations that promote local artisans have a chance in the New York food scene.
According to New Amsterdam Market’s mission statement, they aimed to create, “a thriving society of small business; responsibilities of agriculture, fisheries, and food production; regional economies, and fair trade between regions; equitable access to real food."
Chefs and food personalities tweeted about their disappointment regarding New Amsterdam’s closing on Monday.
“We are losing our beloved #southstreetseaport & @NewAmsterdamMkt to developers.lets fight to save the #heritage&history of lower manhatten “ - @AprilBloomfield, The Spotted Pig & The Breslin
Crumbs may be on its way back in, but what about New Amsterdam Market?