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Group Operating Out Of Former Fulton Fish Market Site Hopes To Find Permanent Home There

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Even before Hurricane Sandy, development plans were already being floated for the South Street Seaport, and now that Mayor Michael Bloomberg has set out a dramatic post-storm plan for the area, the group that runs a fresh fruit market in the former Fulton Fish Market is hoping it can be part of life there looking forward. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.

After more than a century and half in Lower Manhattan, the Fulton Fish Market left in 2005 for the Bronx. It was right around that time that Robert LaValva started the New Amsterdam Market on the site.

"This market is a market of small businesses, all of whom, in one way or the other, support local agriculture," LaValva said. "So it's like a farmer's market, but they're small businesses instead."

In previous summers, the market was here every Sunday. But now, with the possibility of redevelopment, rezoning and an uncertain future, LaValva said Sunday's market was the only scheduled market this season.

The group organized a rally Sunday to carve out a permanent home for the merchants at the historic spot.

"It represents a certain relationship New York City has had to the water since the beginnings of New York, and this is the last vestige of it," LaValva said.

One vendor said he traveled six hours from Vermont just to sell his products at the market. The people there said it is a vital resource for them to have direct contact with consumers. They want the market to stay.

"This is the best opportunity I've had so far, by far, to expose people to my product," said one vendor.

"Before, it used to be every week for a couple months out of the year, and there was people that were making a living off of this," said another. "And now, without the market, there's going to be people that are going to have to find another means to sell their product."

"It's such a resource for so many people," said a third. "There aren't as many places close by that people can come out and actually meet their farmers and know more about the source of their own food."

The area was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg has talked about creating a "Seaport City" of development, similar to Battery Park, as a buffer against future storms. That is not appealing to many area advocates, though.

"We need the New Amsterdam Market 'cause this is New York," said Roland Lewis, president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. "This is local. This is real."

NY1 reached out to the mayor's office for a comment but had heard back as of 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

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