3 questions for...Robert LaValva
Public-market buff, locavore
Thu Dec 13 2007
Photograph: Venetia Lannon
The cofounder of New Amsterdam Public, a nonprofit organization devoted to putting a public market in the former Fulton Fish Market space, discusses his mission in time for the inaugural Wintermarket on Sunday 16.
1 We thought the old Fulton Fish Market was going condo. What exactly are you pitching?
I envision a really bustling public market, with open stalls, where you feel overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. Like Borough Market in London. Everything would be sourced within 500 miles, and sourced sustainably. It would be called New Amsterdam Market, after the city’s original name.
2 Why the South Street Seaport? Isn’t it out-of-the-way?
The first official ferry between the Seaport and Brooklyn started in 1642 and brought produce from Brooklyn farms. In 1822, the name Fulton Market was coined. It would be great to revive something that was part of the soul of this city.
3 If the market does take hold, would it take forever to come to fruition, like the High Line?
The Seaport is undergoing a planning process, with a major developer who operates the Pier 17 mall. The city has been waiting to see what they are proposing. New Yorkers can write to the mayor. Only time will tell.—Alex Van Buren