Greenmarket, Pedestrian Plaza Coming to Site Near World Trade Center

The sidewalk at Greenwich Street, near Albany, will be the site of a Greenmarket beginning early next month. If it draws enough customers, the market may expand within the far larger gated space that had been a queuing area for the 9/11 memorial and is slated to become a pedestrian plaza. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jul. 23, 2014

A Greenmarket is relocating to a new space just south of the World Trade Center site, a small step towards what is hoped will become a bigger market—and a homecoming of sorts.

The Greenmarket, soon to be displaced from West Broadway between Barclay Street and Park Place due to the construction of security barriers, will relocate early next month on Greenwich Street near Albany. Initially, three market sellers will occupy the wide sidewalk outside the former queuing area for visitors to the September 11 Memorial.  Six more tents are expected to be added. But officials of GrowNYC, the city-run organization in charge of Greenmarkets, would like to see the market successful enough to expand beyond the sidewalk into the 7,000-square-foot lot that is soon to become a pedestrian plaza. 

For 17 years before the Sept. 11 attacks, a large Greenmarket occupied portions of the south and east sides of the World Trade Center. Since 2003 when it was reorganized, the market has led a vagabond existence, moving among several nearby locations.

Community Board 1 has pushed for a Greenmarket in the former queuing area, which the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) reacquired from the September 11 Memorial earlier this month. In an April resolution, the board said that a Greenmarket there would let the community “reclaim” the space and transform it into a “dynamic, vibrant area.”

“If the farmers are doing really well and people are coming, then we can add more farmers inside [the lot],” said Taina Prado, the director of government and community relations at the Downtown Alliance, which is working on programming for the lot. “But they want to first see what kind of response they get.”

If the market expands into the lot and grows into a successful “full service market,” then GrowNYC will not look for a new location, Greenmarket director Michael Hurwitz told the Trib in an email.

“We simply have doubts that the Albany Street location will allow for that growth to happen, but nothing would make us happier than it being a huge success,” he wrote, adding that the final location will be determined after 1 World Trade Center is completed.

The pedestrian plaza is expected to open by early August, with tables, chairs, planters, umbrellas and trees, according to Prado. 

“In the future,” she said, “once it’s more known and recognized as a public plaza, then we can do potential other programming there.”

The lot is part of a larger 32,000-foot space known as Site 5, where the demolished Deutsche Bank building had stood. A “general project plan” for the space calls for a 1.3 million square foot office tower. But David Emil, president of the LMDC, told a Community Board 1 committee recently that the glut of office space in the area makes the site currently unsuitable for commercial development.