Proposed Food Market Will Create Jobs and Support Local Businesses

New York, April 15th, 2010 – City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Council Members Chin and Thomas White, advocates from the food industry and community leaders today stood together to show their support for the redevelopment of the Fulton Fish Market area as a place to host a brand new market for local businesses and regional foods. The coalition of local leaders, food advocates and businesses committed to ensuring that any new development at this site must include a food market. Joining the Speaker were Janell Vaughn from General Growth Properties (GGP), Roland Lewis, President, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Julie Menin, Chairperson from Community Board 1, Kelly Williams, Project for Public Spaces, Nelly Wu from W & T Seafood, Anita Lee from Bo Bo Poultry Market, Inc and Thomas Forster of the New School for Social Research.

“I can’t think of a better place than the historic Fulton Fish Market area to host a regional food market in Lower Manhattan,” said Speaker Quinn. “These markets would welcome a variety of visitors and residents while boosting economic development. From shopping to cooking demonstrations to classes showing how food gets from the farm to city, the possibilities for a great and vibrant food market are endless. I want to thank my Council colleagues, Community Board 1 and food advocates for their support on this proposal.”

“I am pleased to stand here today with Speaker Quinn and my colleagues in government to stand together for a new and vibrant market at the Fulton Fish Market,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “This neighborhood, not always recognized but formally known as the Seaport-Civic Centre, is a growing and thriving area and a wonderful part of my district. And as a local neighbor, I am thrilled of the possibility of having a market within walking distance. As the Speaker and others, like Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Velazquez, pointed out earlier this week in announcing the Healthy Food Financing initiative, our communities need more access to fresh produce. I hope that by working together, we can find a way to make this dream a reality here, for this neighborhood and for lower Manhattan.”

“With tourism and the food service industry being two important sectors of this City’s economy, the development of a regional food market that takes advantage of our world class culinary schools and gastronomic superstars, bountiful agricultural and viticultural regions of this state, we have a real opportunity to create jobs while providing food manufacturers and farmers with a place to showcase their artisanal products or for tourists to taste the best of what New York City has to offer,” said Councilman Thomas White Jr.

“I want to thank Speaker Quinn for her leadership in pushing a citywide vision for food markets. We’ve already made great progress in my district at the La Marqueta and the Moore Street Market in Brooklyn,” said Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The idea to redevelop the Old Fulton Fish Market makes great sense as a future home to a world class culinary destination. Food markets provide greater access to fresh foods for underserved areas but also reflects the beautiful diversity of our City in the foods that they offer.”

“Before there was ever a shopping mall or supermarket – people gathered daily in the open-air surrounded by their neighbors shopping for fresh produce and wares,” said Council Member Diana Reyna. This is the type of environment, which thrives in our community at the Moore Street Market – I am thrilled to see this being created in Downtown Manhattan. These markets are essential to the health and well-being of our constituents and it is important that we stand in strong support as they are portals for fresh food and community engagement.”

“Creating a new food market at the former Fulton Fish Market site would provide access to healthy, locally grown foods to residents from Chinatown and the Lower East Side to the Financial District and Battery Park City. The re-use of this historic site in this manner is not only appropriate but would also revitalize that portion of the waterfront and be one more important step towards expanding Lower Manhattan into the vibrant 24-7 mixed use community that we have envisioned it to be,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“I am pleased to join Speaker Quinn and Lower Manhattan community leaders in support of this project at the historic Fulton Fish Market,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “A public food market would be a welcome addition to the South Street Seaport, bringing sustainable development and vitality to the area. Moreover, a food market would provide important amenities for the local community, while generating jobs and opportunities for local producers.”

“By creating a new public market at the historic Fulton Fish Market, we can empower more New Yorkers to bring healthy, affordable food to the dining table,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “Redeveloping the Market into a regional food market will contribute to the City’s economy, while providing nutritious meals to local families.”

State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “Lower Manhattan and the area around the South Street Seaport offer almost anything you can imagine for residents and visitors alike. One of the few things it’s missing is a great food market. The new market will bring local, fresh food to the community, create jobs, and attract New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world to this historic neighborhood. I look forward to working with Speaker Quinn and the local community to make this cultural marketplace a reality.”

“Lower Manhattan is the fastest growing community in New York City and there is a pressing need to bolster our neighborhood’s infrastructure, services and amenities to accommodate this rapid growth,” said Julie Menin, Chairperson from Community Board One. “Our residents frequently complain about the lack of supermarkets and places to buy produce and we would welcome a permanent, regional market at the South Street Seaport. Such a facility could bring thousands of new jobs to Lower Manhattan while also addressing a pressing need among local residents and workers.”

“The Old Fulton Fish Market would make a great home for a world class culinary destination. A local, indigenous, home grown food market like we saw at the New Amsterdam Market last summer is a great example of the real potential of what could happen here on a permanent basis,” said Roland Lewis, President of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “I want to thank and congratulate Speaker Quinn for pulling together a broad coalition of support for an idea that makes so much sense for the Fulton Street waterfront.”

“Food markets have been operating at the Seaport since 1822,” said Janell Vaughn, Senior General Manager of General Growth Properties. “General Growth looks forward to working with the Speaker and the City Council to create a great new market serving Lower Manhattan and the entire City.”

“Building on the success of New York City’s rapidly expanding farmers markets, it’s long overdue to expand permanent public market infrastructure to spur economic development and to connect city residents to fresh, healthy food,” said Kelly Williams from Project for Public Spaces.

“This spring a team of students from the New School Food Studies program is assessing the community needs and interests related to the Fulton Street Market idea, including research on other existing markets with similar characteristics and interviews with local residents and leaders in the community,” said Thomas Forster, Instructor, The New School.

The Fulton Fish Market which is already slated for redevelopment, is an ideal place that would create jobs in this struggling economy. Located at one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York, it has been an important tourist destination in the city. The proposed food market would be a destination for residents and tourists of every income and will help small and regional entrepreneurs in the ever growing food industry get a jump on expanding their craft.

Food markets serve as major tourist attractions and centers of economic activity for other cities. For example, Pike Place in Seattle is home to nearly 200 businesses and 5,000 jobs, and it attracts an average of 8 -10 million visitors a year. A market of similar importance in New York would generate income for the city and the local community and would be a successful addition to the waterfront.

Earlier this year, in her State of the City speech, Speaker Quinn encouraged the investment in a destination market that highlights small vendors, diverse cuisines and regional products. The Council has already invested in the revitalization of two other markets, La Marqueta in East Harlem and the Moore Street Market in Bushwick/East Williamsburg. The Fulton Fish Market will be a part of a broader network of food markets in the city. It is envisioned that this market will appeal to all New Yorkers and to tourists by providing a diversity of products and events. Additionally, the hope is that vendors will highlight the regional agricultural landscape and local producers and support the growth of emerging food manufacturing firms.