Street fight in the Market


By Lincoln Anderson

A production assistant swept away rainwater during a Gap photo shoot on Jane and Hortio Sts. last weekend. The cold winter left potholes in abundance around the city and the cobblestone streets in and around the Meat Market were not spared. However, the city’s policy is to fill potholes — which are caused by wear and tear — with asphalt. On the other hand, if utilities like Con Ed cut trenches through cobblestone streets for their work the city requires them to replace the cobblestones “in kind.” Andrew Berman, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation executive director, said the time has come for the city to “put its money where its mouth is” and follow its own policy and fix potholes on cobblestone streets with cobblestones, not asphalt. He pointed to the Gap ad shoot to show the economic value of the cobblestones, properly known as Belgian blocks. As a result, the city should pay a little extra to specially fix Meat Market potholes, he said. But the city’s current system “puts us between a rock and a hard place,” the preservationist said. Keith Kalb, a Department of Transportation spokesperson, said it “costs four times as much money” to fix potholes with cobblestones. D.O.T. has crews that do repairs with asphalt but would have to hire outside contractors to fix cobblestones. “We’re fixing with asphalt because that’s what all the streets in the city are made of — except for four streets out of 4,000,” Kalb said.