Here is an informal blog with some recent information about La Marqueta happenings.
Response to Illoquent Gent:
“While many would argue that East Harlem can do just fine without it, one must ask “Is that something we want to live with?” We have read about the significant disparity in access to quality foods that exist between minority communities and more affluent ones. We’ve also heard the blogosphere clamoring for a place like Trader Joe’s or Gourmet Garage in Harlem. A place like “La Marqueta” that not only returns huge dividends culturally, but also provides easy access to a central location for competitively-priced, quality food products seems like a no-brainer! I don’t know what the best solution looks like. All I know is that I would kill for a box of those avocados!”
The gist of the article reviewed fond memories of La Marqueta, and makes the obvious point that the market today fails to evoke the same feeling for those returning to the market.
However, what the author left open was a dialog considering what the market will be resurrected as. What is the point? Who are the customers? Who benifits?
Frankly, the market as it exists now fails for two reasons. One the prices are too high. Secondly, the design of the market is too indicative of the actions, and the lifestyle of a specific Customer. Simply, themes in the architecture and visual design targets groups of people who are not native to East Harlem.
The fenced in area of La Marqueta is a maze of red fences. Fences that facilitate vending in specific areas, and keep locals out at night. Remember there is only one way through a maze, in this case North to South. Another visual analogy one might use would be a zoo, If you walk forty feet west of the fenced in market, all you see is a red fence with the heart of Harlem’s culture flowing in one direction thorough it. A majestic sight watching culture contained in a red fence, for tourists perhaps.
Indicative infrastructure such as the red fence creates a sense of containment for Harlems culture. As though it could be caged, or contained.
What was successful about past attempts was the lack of indicative architecture and design. Simplification.
Often as a student it is almost easier to contrive elaborate plans, rather than understanding some things cannot be evolved for the better, but perhaps can be left alone or dismantled for the better.Personally, I do not feel as though I can speak for the people of Harlem. I cannot provide solutions. I think this is a naive and condescending approach that is reflected in the remains of past approaches
I can however propose the deregulation of the market for Harlem Residents, and reconsider the application of ideas proposed in Brown’s work, which is in a previous post.