The season has changed, and the Seaport story has progressed. Last December, as the cheese-grilling minion of the Saxelby table, I became one with the New Amsterdam Market. My unsuspecting frozen fingers flew round the knives and boards and cheese and pickles with a contagious rhythm, a pulse of energy I’d caught from the stands, the purveyors, the foods, and the crowd. We, together, were a Market, with a life of our own.
Yesterday, we the Market, hoping for the embrace of a City, took a leap, within the wonderful, invigorating process of courting New York. The rhythm pulsed as before, and again, coaxed the City to dance. The bell rang, and we knew it was time.
We demonstrated our love!
The bakers borrowed knives and cutting boards to fill their baskets of samples in time; the cheesemongers welcomed assistance as gurus and gluttons piled round their tables; the farmers rattled off the retellings of their stories, explaining once again the locations of their farms, by the Finger Lakes, or the Appalachians, or the ocean to the East. The popsicle makers dished out frozen cups of rhubarb, and strawberries, giggling in their green-striped shirts; and the caterers gracefully demonstrated their enviable experience with crowds. Your strolling bellies began to bustle and jostle for tastes, and to fill with sliced loaves as they rounded the bakers dozen: a peasant bread of hearty grains and sea salt played neighbor to a soft dough filled with pistachios and rhubarb, offered next over from a country round encased in thick crust, embedded with olives. Watering mouths quickly emptied little cups and bowls,vessels of frittata slices with greens, mussels and broth, white beans with chunks of chorizo. The youthful smiles over the Bent Spoon coolers passed down the joys of ice creams, of sweet basil and goat cheese, blueberry maple syrup, strawberry crème fraiche, and sweet, cinnamon-ripe ricotta. Homemade sodas and strong, iced coffee relieved the humid, sticky limbs that piled into the square, filing past the skyscrapers on foot or wheel, rushing ‘cross the river by boat or bridge. Hunger surrendered, to Jimmy’s $3 toasts with guinea hen, radishes, and walnuts; to flats of foccaccia from Hot Bread Kitchen; to lavender cookies, and quiches, and honey straight from Queens. Dry ice melted as St. Brigid’s women sold veal chops, John passed out sausages, and Anita butchered her Bo Bo chickens before the City’s eyes. Frank served razor clam ceviche, elegantly scooped with a razor clam from a copper bowl larger than my fridge at home, and Tom offered up his Ronnybrook butters and yogurts to the masses of grateful, devoted devourers. Nova and Les emptied their baskets of gathered, glorious goods, and Darren Pettigrew sold perfect, pearly oysters. Barbara Mensch signed her books of photographs, her captured moments of the fabled Fish Market before it left our hoped-for buildings vacant.
The rhythm of the Market only quickened with the pounding of the rain on the highway ‘bove our heads. The energy within us, the Market, proved how very much we need, beyond Greenhorns stickers and pretty pamphlets, an authentic, permanent place to share, and nurture, our healthy, pulsing passion. It is our rhythm – one of health, community, and hard-working pride – that will strengthen the heartbeat of the New York public. We need the City. We are devoted to your land, your river, your bridges and highways, and to the jolts of our bicycles in the gaps between your Seaport cobblestones. We need you more than once a season. We need a permanent home, where you might learn, and dance to, our evolving, perpetual rhythm.
New York, we are yours. Ask to have the Market back! And we will come to stay forever.