If you’ve walked by the corner of Essex and Delancey streets on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you’ve probably noticed there’s a lot going on. What is it? It’s the Essex Crossing mega-development. Among many other things, it will be the new home of the Essex Street Market. The current market is, however, still up and running and it wants people to know that.
That’s why the market hired artist Gera Lozano to paint murals on both the exterior and interior of the 76-year-old building. The one on the outside measures 200 feet in length and contains two segments.
“The inspiration for the mural design came from the history, past and present,” said Lozano. “Merging both old and new worlds into a fresh palette that vibrates with the richness of its past and popular reputation today.”
In Manhattan, Gera has created several pieces as a Teaching Artist for the nonprofit Creative Art Works, together with Youth Apprentices in their Public Art Youth Employment Program. Recent examples include the 2014 mural, “Gardens of Steel,” in the Time-Life Building at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, and last Summer’s “Art of Jazz” at the PAL Harlem Center at 441 Manhattan Avenue. She is currently leading a team of CAW Youth Apprentices painting a mural on the entrance to Global Community Charter School at 142nd Street and 5th Avenue.
Some of Lozano’s other work can be seen uptown at the Time & Life Building, where she created a two-piece mural called “Garden of Steel” in 2014. Last year, she painted “Art of Jazz” at the PAL Harlem Center.
As for her work at the Essex Street Market, on the inside, the focus is very much food. The avocado pops up twice in the five works there!
Lozano’s work isn’t the only art inside the market. This roll-down gate was painted by Dominic Corry, as part of the collective Klughaus.
There is currently 15,000 square feet of space at the Essex Street, with 9,000 square feet devoted to retail. There are 27 vendors, and one more is coming soon.
The new Essex Street Market will open just down the road in 2018, with about 35,000 square feet of space. That’s room for 35 vendors. It will still be a New York City-run facility, but the developer of Essex Crossing – Delancey Street Associates, which is a combined effort by L+M Development Partners, Taconic Investment Partners and BFC Partners – will pay for relocation of all current vendors.
The new market will also feature “modern and accessible restroom facilities, loading docks, and other storage amenities that are aligned with contemporary public market facilities,” according to a spokesperson for the Lower East Side Partnership.