A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 21, 2005
La Marqueta
"La Maqueta" is the name for the market on Park Avenue, from 111th to 116th Streets. Mayor LaGuardia removed the pushcarts and created the market in 1936. In the 1950s, the area became increasingly Spanish and was called "La Marqueta." In the 1970s, the area declined with the introduction of neighborhood supermarkets. Today is barely exists.

The Moore Street Market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn now is called "La Marqueta de Williamsburg." It does more business than the original "La Marqueta."

The individual vendors sell many things, but the markets are known for Spanish foods.

http://www.gothamgazette.com/community/8/officialword/49
Mayor LaGuardia had established La Marqueta in 1936 to create a permanent home for the outdoor pushcart markets that were located around the City at the time. Since the 1950's, La Marqueta has been recognized as a popular Latino marketplace. At its peak, it was a busy retail center that housed 510 stalls. In the summer and fall, the market hosted a Farmers Market on its open-air plaza, which also served as the venue for numerous community and cultural events featuring live entertainment and activities for children.

http://nypost.com/tempo/04130503.htm
April 13, 2005 --
FOR Carlos Quilnones, the bimonthly drive from Pennsylvania to Williamsburg, Brooklyn's La Marqueta is a happy one. The former New Yorker stocks up on Latin American legumes and specialties that are hard to find in the Poconos, the city he now calls home.
(...)
The city built Moore Street Market in 1941 as a way to create a home for the local pushcart peddlers that had inhabited the area for more than 40 years. Today, it's occupied by 14 independent vendors and owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
(...)
La Marqueta, 108-110 Moore St., between Humboldt Street and Graham Avenue, Brooklyn. (718) 384-1371 Open seven days a week.

26 June 1934, New York Times, pg. 8:
MODERN MARKET
TO REPLACE CARTS
(...)
The pushcart market under the Park Avenue viaduct of the New York Central tracks, running from 111th Street to 116th Street, is to be transformed into a modern, sanitary enclosed market this SUmmer, according to present plans of the LaGuardia administration.

5 May 1936, New York Times, pg. 24:
MARKET IN HARLEM
OPENED BY MAYOR
(...)
Five newly completed buildings that will house a modern, sanitary market where formerly a maze of pushcarts cluttered Park Avenue, from 111th to 116th Street, were opened yesterday morning by Mayor La Guardia. The Mayor said that as long as he held office only the "small merchant doing business at his own stand" would be tolerated there and "politicians and speculators in rotten food" would be barred.

8 January 1959, New York Times, "Puerto Rican Food Market Flourishing Here," by Craig Claiborne, pg. 23:
Although the average New Yorker is unaware of it, this city also is the site of one of the world's most extensive markets specializing in Puerto Rican produce. Situated in the middle of Park Avenue, the public shopping place stretches from 111th to 116th Streets. There, customers may purchase unaccustomed fresh foods, such as culantro leaves, cassavas and a pumpkin-like squash called calabaza.

27 August 1968, New York Times, pg. 43:
Saturday is the big day at La Marqueta, Spanish Harlem's central market, a series of 468 stands enclosed by block-by-block units along Park Avenue stretching from 111th to 116th Street beneath the Penn Central railroad tracks.

16 April 2000, New York Times, City (section 14), pg. 8:
But Mr. Santana hasn't made a significant sale in weeks. His stall in La Marqueta, the once-bustling hub of market life in East Harlem, has few visitors these days. He remembers when the market was so full of vendors, about 400 at its peak, that it could take the whole afternoon to push through the entire complex.

Back then, the market's five indoor buildings, which stretch from 111th to 116th Streets on Park Avenue underneath the Metro-North viaduct, were humming. But now only one building, at 115th Street, is still open. Yesterday, Mr. Santana lamented, he earned just $12. One day last week, he made $3.50.

''There's more business in a cemetery than there is here,'' he said.

10 December 2001, Crain's New York Business, pg. 26:
It's an admittedly offbeat choice, but Rubin Tirado is sure that his business, La Placita Produce, is perfectly placed. The purveyor of everything from fresh plantains to Goya canned goods is one of 22 venders in the Moore Street Retail Market, an indoor mall in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

The cavernous yet charmingly retro market, also known as "La Marqueta de Williamsburg," is a place where Latin music fills the air and shoppers come from miles away for everything from ethnic foods to religious statues.

"Many Hispanic people know that the market exists," says Mr. Tirado, who reports that customers at his 700-square-foot stall have come from as far away as Maryland.

28 November 2004, New York Daily News:
And despite attempts at rehabilitation, La Marqueta, once a bustling fresh-food market mainly run by Puerto Rican greengrocers, is now a shadow of its former self.

3 April 2005, New York Times, pg. A30:
In October 2003, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced plans to bring back La Marqueta, once a widely known market in East Harlem that had dwindled to nearly nothing. From the 1930's to the 80's, 200 or more vendors vibrantly filled five blocks of buildings under the Park Avenue railroad tracks from 111th to 116th Streets; today, six vendors struggle to survive in the single shabby, little-frequented building still open.

The city and the federal government have committed nearly $3 million for the revival, and ''we're working with several banks'' and other potential financing sources for the $18 million more needed to rebuild a five-block market, said Elizabeth Colon, executive director of the nonprofit East Harlem Business Capital Corporation. The city named the corporation to carry out the project.

Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, April 21, 2005 • Permalink