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Episode 345 of 363

LaGuardia's War on Pushcarts and the Creation of Essex St. Market

Duration: 01:05:46
EPISODE 345 Once upon a time, the streets of the Lower East Side were lined with pushcarts and salespeople haggling with customers over the price of fruits, fish and pickles. Whatever became of them?
New York's earliest marketplaces were large and surprisingly well regulated hubs for commerce that k
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EPISODE 345 Once upon a time, the streets of the Lower East Side were lined with pushcarts and salespeople haggling with customers over the price of fruits, fish and pickles. Whatever became of them?
New York's earliest marketplaces were large and surprisingly well regulated hubs for commerce that kept the city fed. When the city was small, they served the hungry population well.
But by the mid-19th century, massive waves of immigration and the necessary expansion of the city meant a lack of affordable food options for the city's poorest residents in overcrowded tenement districts.
Then along came the peddler, pushcart vendors who brought bargains of all types -- edible and non-edible -- to neighborhood streets throughout the city. In particular, on the Lower East Side, the pushcarts created bustling makeshift marketplaces.
Many shoppers loved the set-up! But not a certain mayor -- Fiorello LaGuardia, who promised to sweep away these old-fashioned pushcarts that packed the streets -- and instead house some of those vendors in new municipal market buildings.
For those immigrant peddlers, the Essex Street Market -- in sight of the Williamsburg Bridge -- would provide a diverse shopping experience representing a swirl of various cultures: Eastern European, Puerto Rican, Italian and more.
But could these markets survive competition from supermarkets? Or the many economic changes of life in New York City?Support the show: https://www.patreon.com/boweryboysSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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