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Saturday, April 21, 2012
Green Market In, Food Trucks Out
As readers may know by now, the Green (Farmers) Market is returning to Stuyvesant Town in its previous location at the southern edge of the Oval grounds. According to this week's Town & Village newspaper, the market "will go from being an event that's been open to the public to one that's for residents and their guests only." Our councilman Dan Garodnick, who promised last year to work with management to place the Green Market in an area that would meet what was then considered proper zoning regulations, sent a letter to Amanda Burden, Director of the Department of City Planning, stating that "he considered the matter closed after working with CW Capital to find a way to bring the greenmarket back without its use being considered commercial activity." Garodnick has had talks with both the Dept. of City Planning and the Department of Buildings, and has come to the conclusion, according to T&V, that the zoning laws prevent "open commercial use" of residential property, but that "limited commercial activity in residential areas that are designed to serve as an 'accessory use' for residents and their guests only" are allowed. At least now there is clarity (hopefully).
While certain readers may be disappointed in the obvious sidestep here, I am not averse to having the Green Market in its former place, as long as something is done aesthetically to the area it occupies one day a week. When the Green Market is gone for six days out of the week and permanently during the winter/early spring season, that area looks dismal, depressing and slum-like. It's also a haven for dogs to relieve themselves, so the sanitary conditions for placing food there seem suspect. Apparently management has looked into a solution, but nothing yet has emerged to rectify the situation.
Of course, readers will pick up on the tired old tale of activities being open to ST/PCV "residents and their guests." We all know by now that Public Safety does not card people entering Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper (this complex is "public access," after all), and that outsiders have taken full advantage of the summer events here, as well as the Oval grounds for sunbathing. I'm not that sure that outsiders really take advantage of the Green Market, however. It's a small market, after all, and I don't see Lower East Siders trudging up blocks to pick out limited fresh organic produce or meat. I could be wrong, however, and will check when I can. ;-)
In order to keep to the spirit of the law, CW Capital will not "market" the market as a public event. Expect to see signage that refers to the market being for "residents and their guests only." I do have to note that at least one of the companies that will be at the market is promoting the Stuy Town market on its website in a way that suggests an invitation to outsiders.
The really good news is that the food trucks, which plagued that area of the Oval, will not be returning, except for special events. In T&V, Garodnick commented, "There was just a level of concern that it was unsightly and made the Oval feel more commercial with corporate logos." Dan must be reading this blog.