Keeping Cars Out of Greenmarkets

inwoodmkt.jpg
The Inwood Greenmarket, on Isham Street, can tolerate a handful of parked cars …

In August, the Manhattan Times reported that the city’s Greenmarket program was considering a new location at W. 185th Street, near Bennett Park, in Washington Heights. It seems the effort was started by Heights resident and cyclist Marisa Panzani, who was inspired while hauling fresh produce from another market through the hilly ‘hood on her bike. Community Board 12 eventually got involved, and is expected to sign off on the location. In order to make it work, however, the Greenmarket program needs a city tow truck to remove any errant vehicles.

Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz tells Streetsblog that illegally parked cars are not generally a problem for most Greenmarkets, for several reasons. First of all, residents are usually happy to have a market in their neighborhood.

"We have the support of communities who say, ‘We are willing to trade parking for the market,’" Hurwitz says. Also, market personnel can often match a vehicle with its driver, and will knock on doors as early as 6:00 a.m. to get cars moved. Drivers consider such wake-up calls preferable to being ticketed or towed, says Hurwitz.

Cars intruding upon Greenmarket space is a safety issue, and also hampers vendors in loading in and out. Still, Hurwitz says towing is "a last, last resort." But because of the relatively narrow width of W. 185th, a DOT-assigned tow truck is crucial to the potential market’s operations — especially in the beginning, when residents won’t be accustomed to keeping the street clear on market days.

"If there’s cars on both sides," Hurwitz says, "there’s no market."

As of late August, Hurwitz was still awaiting word on the truck.

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… but a market on W. 185th Street, in Washington Heights, could not.

Photos: Brad Aaron

  • LN

    Why move this greenmarket, make a new one! Upper Manhattan is densely packed with hungry people.

    There needs to be greenmarkets in Inwood, another in upper Washington Heights, another one below the bridge, in the 150s and another in the 130s-140s Plus theres only one CSA in the whole area, in ft tryon park on a weekday. And there has been a long struggle to open a food co-op on west 145th st.
    http://www.harlemnaturalfoodcoop.com/index.html

    Theres a lot of people in need of organic, affordable, ethnic fruits, vegetables ect…

  • Hi LN,

    I believe from reading this article that the Inwood greenmarket is staying put, and that the city is considering *adding* a market in Washington Heights at W 185th St.

  • 180s? eh… any chance any of those car are a part of a livery fleet? That is, is it residents… or businesses?

  • Susan — The closest businesses are about a block away. The only building that faces the street is a synagogue. I’ve never seen livery cabs parked there.

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