Here’s our first look at what the site of the storied Essex Street Market could hold. Known simply as “Site 9” in the Essex Crossing mega-development, the 12-story mixed-use development would contain market-rate condominiums and two levels of commercial space at its base. The design of the market-replacing building was penned by GF55 Partners who hope the brick, metal, and glass structure will “co-exist with the area’s visual clutter and loudness of the Williamsburg Bridge traffic.” In the sole image provided, a distinguished two-story base recalls the structural features of the nearby Williamsburg Bridge. According to their description, the commercial base is for a restaurant with various bars and dining areas.
essex street market
Image courtesy of MNCY
Long considered the capital of Jewish America, this overpoweringly cramped neighborhood was considered by many to be the greatest concentration of Jewish life in nearly 2,000 years.
Between 1880 and 1924, 2.5 million mostly-impoverished Ashkenazi Jews came to the US and nearly 75 percent took up residence on the Lower East Side. According to the Library of Congress, by 1900, more than 700 people per acre were settling in a neighborhood lined with tenements and factories. And as quickly as they descended on the streets, all sharing a common language (mostly Yiddish) and most certainly, similar backgrounds, they quickly established synagogues as early as 1865 (the landmarked Bialystoker Synagogue, whose congregants were mostly Polish immigrants from Bailystok), small shops, pushcarts teeming with goods, social clubs and even financial-aid societies.
By 1910, the Lower East Side’s population was well over the five million mark, but sadly, such congestion habitually caused havoc.