New Amsterdam Market Board Seeking to Keep Market Alive

Markets devoted to certain foods, like this one centered around pickles in November, 2011, were especially popular. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca

Jul. 16, 2014

The New Amsterdam Market will not die, if its board of directors has its way. 

Stunned by market president Robert LaValva’s sudden announcement on Monday that the market he founded in 2007 was closing, the board is launching an effort to keep it alive.

“The board is interested in continuing the New Amsterdam Market, and we’re exploring ways that that can be done,” said board member Roland Lewis, who is also president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from government officials, from vendors in the market, a lot of people want to help. So we’re encouraged by that, but we really don’t know yet what the plan will be.”

The board met just hours after LaValva sent an email to his supporters announcing that the market, which had operated on South Street since December 2007, was ending. He cited a lack of financial and political support for the market as a reason for its demise. (LaValva, also a board member, was not present at the meeting. Emails to him were met with an autoresponse saying that he is unavailable by phone or email until July 21.)

Having met with LaValva recently, Lewis said he thought the market was doing well and there had been no indication that LaValva planned to end it. "It was a surprise to us,” he told the Trib. “An unfortunate surprise."

At its height more than two years ago, the market ran weekly from May to December. But since then it has operated more sporadically. As of Monday, the market’s website listed a schedule of monthly markets through December.

During a meeting of Community Board 1’s Seaport Committee Tuesday evening, committee chair John Fratta called LaValva’s announcement “devastating.” The community board, he said, should start a “working relationship” with the New Amsterdam Market’s directors in an effort to revive the market.

“Let’s try to get a market in that place,” Fratta said. “I think that’s key to the community.”

The Seaport Committee plans to discuss the future of the New Amsterdam Market at its September meeting.