Bleecker Bob’s, it turns out, isn’t the only neighbor of ours falling victim to the sluggish economy. NoHo Market, that rickety 20-year-old flea market by the MLB Fan Cave on Broadway and West 4th St., is scheduled to be closed down for good this year on August 31, at 5pm exactly.
The plans by Downtown Re Holdings LLC, the owners of the 688 Broadway lot which resides in the NoHo Historic District, to build a 12-storey terra-cotta and brick-faced condo building, have received an outpouring of support from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Commissioners in the LPC, the body which approved the building plans last October, called it “thrilling” and “ravishing,” and one even said, “I want to reach out and touch this building,” before it was predicted to become a New York City landmark itself one day.
If you’re wondering what exactly they’re all excited about, it’s primarily the terra-cotta fins on the front-facing windows arranged irregularly to catch the light from different angles (see render). That, and the general aesthetics of the building’s proposed architecture, which will include a facelift of Great Jones Alley, and a design by BKSK Architects that is, as a representative from the Society for the Architecture of the City said, “Of our time without displaying contempt for the past.”
Tell that to the vendors who have been selling their wares for years now in the decades-old NoHo Market. Talk to them for two minutes about what’s happening to their livelihoods and see what kind of feelings are ‘displayed‘ – contempt might very easily be one of them.
The vendors sell merchandise ranging from hats and scarves to souvenirs and art. Further into the lot, there’s also an old Chinese lady who offers back massages. With these kinds of goods, business hasn’t been booming for NoHo Market, and many of the shopkeepers have been feeling the pressure.
One vendor told me how it’s not unlikely for some of them to just disappear before rent is due because of the difficulty in making ends meet. And today, one more from their group is being evicted. The vendor owes $4,560 to Killer Carts, Inc., the company that manages NoHo Market.
Rachel Pinker, the market manager from Killer Carts and an ex-NoHo Market vendor herself, is apparently looking for locations for the stores to migrate to. But the vendors are concerned as to where exactly they can find a suitable place to move their business, because most flea markets in NYC focus on used/antique goods, they said.
What the vendors seem most upset about is the extent to which they are kept in the dark about these dealings. Another vendor told me how Pinker never discussed with the shopkeepers the apartment building plans, and most only found out when the DNAinfo reporter informed them for the first time, causing the rumor to start spreading down the lot.
Most that we spoke to do not have definitive plans for what to do after NoHo Market closes down. 49-year-old Mohammed Flah, who has been operating a stall for over eight years, told DNAinfo, “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We have a mortgage and five kids. Everything is hard now.”
What It Looks Like Now:
What The Plans Are For The Future: