One of the most unique food markets around is the New Amsterdam Market, downtown where the old Fulton Fish Market used to be in Lower Manhattan. Besides the history of food markets in this area, this isn't really your standard farmer's market (there are only a few produce stands) but more of a local food business market. The market is held every Sunday, and often has a theme for that week. Two weeks ago when I visited, it was Slow Food NYC's Slow Food Show. This coming Sunday they will have the author of Four Fish, Paul Greenberg signing copies of his book, and a dozen local fish vendors.
Most real New Yorkers know that the South Street Seaport is a bit of a tourist waste-land, pretty but also pretty useless. It's always seemed like such a waste to me to have one of the few well-preserved neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan serve as home to Pizzeria Uno and Abercrombie, but that's the way it's been for as long as I can remember. When the fish market departed, the awful stench that used to greet visitors as they walked down Fulton Street disappeared, but so did a real purpose for the area. With the exception of a little maritime museum and the historic boats you can visit on school trips (the only time I ever went), it needed another purpose.
That's exactly why I think that N.A.M's vision for this area is really exciting, and they're looking for supporters and volunteers (hint, hint). There are lots of vendors that are also at the many other spots around town (Luke's Lobster, Blue Bottle Coffee, Liddabit Sweets, King's County Jerky and more) but there are also other weekly rotating vendors you may have never seen, such as Hudson Valley Harvest and Morris Kitchen, who were both part of the Slow Food Show, that I discovered on my last visit.
Definitely make an afternoon out of visiting this market, and supporting a little market that has big plans to improve an entire neighborhood. There is only one more market day left in 2011, and that's tomorrow, Sunday December 18 (did I mention the dozen local fisheries?!). You should go now before you'll be braving serious winter weather to check it out in early 2012.