The NoHo market, a collection of vendors selling T-shirts, hats and other souvenirs, has sat on an otherwise empty lot at 688 Broadway, between Great Jones and East Third streets for over 20 years. On Oct. 9 the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a design of a 12-story condominium to be built in that location.
Downtown Real Estate Holdings LLC, which acquired the property in 2008, said the condos will be the best long-term use of the property, bringing new residents and revenue to the city.
“The developer of 688 Broadway is working with the finest team of architects and consultants to create a structure that is elegant, contextual and respectful of the historic nature of the neighborhood,” said Eric Watters, account director of Downtown Real Estate Holdings in a statement. “The temporary flea market use will be phased out over the next year.”
NoHo market manager Rachel Pinker said she was not surprised when she heard about the new development.
“It’s a fluke there’s even been a market here for so long,” Pinker said. “The city did not allocate this space for a market. It’s private property. The owners will always have a right to build on it.”
Other workers at the market, however, were upset and said no one from the property had talked to them first.
Hat vendor Abby X.W., 63, stated that he has been at the market for over 25 years and that he found out about the condo online from his daily news source.
“They said nothing,” X.W. said, referring to the property managers.
Some of the workers said they heard about the displacement from rumors around
Link Guy, 37, who works at a T-shirt stand in the market, said he is not afraid of being out of work, but also said that the market has personality.
“It adds spice! It’s for the tourists. It’s exciting, and they can buy a little something to take home to their loved ones,” Guy said.
T-shirt vendor Rakesh Sanker, 40, agreed and said the he likes the atmosphere of
“We’re like a family. It’s a great location, and it gives a unique experience,” Sanker said.
Brooklyn resident Brandon Bau, 19, also thought that the marketplace is unique.
“The market adds personality to the neighborhood,” Bau said. “It’s a place to go buy things you don’t need.”
On the other hand, Tisch freshman Alex Linzmeier said the condo building is a better use for the space.
“The land is not being used to its maximum efficiency,” Linzmeier said. “You can relocate the market anywhere.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Oct. 24 print edition. Kevin Burns is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.
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