New Amsterdam Market Is Over

new amsterdam market 52012Founder Robert LaValva just sent out this email:

Dear Friends:

I am sorry to announce that New Amsterdam Market has ended, and will no longer take place on South Street.

Founded in 2005, New Amsterdam Market was first staged at the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan on December 16, 2007. Over the ensuing seven years, the market grew in frequency and scope while nurturing an evolving community of small businesses dedicated to sustainable food production, regional economies, and fair trade.

Through our steadfast presence under every adversity, we also championed the preservation of New York City’s oldest commons, where public trade has been conducted since 1642.  We held a total 88 markets and numerous innovative celebrations of our region’s bounty; supported nearly 500 food entrepreneurs; and contributed to the creation of more than 350 jobs.

However, I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive.  Furthermore, we were dealt a mortal blow in 2013 when Council Member Chin, who had long professed to support our cause, betrayed the community in favor of a suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes.  As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost more than one acre of beloved and irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming and terrible waterfront design.

Our last market at this location was held on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

I thank all of you who supported this endeavor.


Robert LaValva, Founder
New Amsterdam Market

UPDATE: Councilmember Chin’s communications director sent over this response:

Like many other members of our Lower Manhattan community, I was sorry to learn this morning that the New Amsterdam Market has ended. Aside from that, it would be an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed by Robert LaValva’s email attacking me as part of his announcement of the closure.

After speaking with a member of the New Amsterdam Market’s board of directors, I quickly confirmed that Mr. LaValva’s email this morning was sent without the approval or knowledge of the New Amsterdam Market board. In fact, I have a great relationship with the board, as its members will attest, and I look forward to continuing to work them in order to keep the market going for the good of our community.

Mr. LaValva’s claim that I have “betrayed the community” regarding the market and the Seaport is false.

Instead, here are some facts: 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.

Now, Mr. LaValva is trying to publicly blame me for something that he could have prevented by working more collaboratively with my office and the City. That might make for an attention-grabbing email, but it’s not the truth.

Once again, I look forward to working with the board of the New Amsterdam Market in order to find positive solutions that will help our Lower Manhattan community.

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  1. They should do this at Pier 57 (@ W15th). Quite a loss for the city.

  2. Correction, I meant pier 54 (but 57 could also work in conjunction with the SuperPier development)

  3. Interesting to hear two distinct arguments, but I can’t distinguish facts from either message. I’d like to hear insights if anyone has them. I’ve been refraining from drawing any opinion on this development because the claims have all seemed like strident, fact-lite bickering.

  4. Rather than turning the tables, going above his head to the board, and blaming LaValva, Chin should have sent a direct appeal to him. Now they can fight this out in the gutter. Sad performance all around.

  5. I am a supporter of LaValva’s and a supporter of Councilmember Chin so let me get my biases out there. I was stunned when I got his email. His New Amsterdam Market got $115,000 in funding from Chin and she openly opposed the Hughes planned tower. What I could never explain to Robert was, while he had lots of support, he wouldn’t nor couldn’t get preferential treatment in the planning stages of the Seaport Study group. No single business no matter how worthy could.
    That would be an inside deal. But Margaret’s support for the Amsterdam Market is well known.

    I am sorry he couldn’t stay and fight for his Market on its merits which are many. Perhaps others who understand the political process will.

    Jean Grillo , District Leader 66AD

    • Robert LaValva’s noble cause has been betrayed primarily by statements like, “Council Member Chin, who had long professed to support our cause, betrayed the community in favor of a suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes.” He has always confused himself and his constituency with “the community.” Who elected him to represent the community? He speaks for a segment of the community that loves New Amsterdam Market. I love New Amsterdam Market, and although I have been on the Community Board for 13 years and have lived Downtown for 30, I do not profess to BE the community. Also, I was stunned to leard that LaValva was offered many thousands of feet of market space which he rejected.

  6. The real loss is to the community at large. I’ve lived downtown for years (now moving to the Seaport), and also know Robert. He’s a great guy and is beyond passionate about what he does. At the end of the day, I don’t care who is at fault. I care that we no longer have this market.

    I can tell you that it was a pleasure to take bike rides on the weekends and see so many vendors selling amazing food with a smile on their faces. A genuine smile. It wasn’t a Whole Foods crowd and it wasn’t this veneer of authenticity that you find all across this City now. It was real. I think I speak for many of us when I say that, deep down, we hoped that this would be permanent, and that it would expand to the community at large. That something in the community could grow from this. Instead, we’re now back to square one. We have shops that sell trinkets and “I Love NY” license plates and t-shirts, but no place that sells freshly caught scallops or local, grass fed beef. We have enough Duane Reade stores that, in the case of nuclear Armageddon, one will never have to worry about running out of shaving cream or condoms (giggles), but we’ve neglected to allow those who want to beautify this neighborhood (not you, TD Bank) at least a canvas on which to work on.

    This is a shame all around. A community so steeped in history, with such an opportunity to differentiate itself from the homogenization of what surrounds it, is unable to flourish the way it should. I’ve no doubt that area will grow, and that new condos will be built, but this was a bigger loss than I think many people can imagine.