Wednesday, August 4, 2010

☞ INTRODUCING: East Harlem's Marqueta Mile

There have been several efforts over the past decade to revive the famous La Marqueta market that sits under the Park Avenue train tracks in East Harlem and the most recent one has been picking up some interest this week. The Harlem Community Development Corporation (CDC) plans to extend the old area which currently spans from 111th to 116th Street and extend it to 133rd Street. This current La Marqueta Mile proposal was approved by the Center for an Urban Future last Thursday.

So what is the new design all about? The architects at Meta Brunzema will deconstruct the remaining structures under the viaduct (top two photos) and basically design various geometric themed sections under city block-long sections below the tracks. There's the drunken box vendor stalls that teeter in different directions at the 111th Street entrance, a stacked cubed section with hydropronic, contained roof gardens at the 112th Street entrance (last two photos) and the winding, undulating shops with the steel trellis lights hanging overhead at the 118th section. As for the existing farm murals, the wall of that brick building will be dismantled and the painted sections will be installed in one of the new spaces: LINK.

Supporters of the proposal have been calling it the Harlem High Line since that downtown project was such a success. The main difference is that this is more of an adaptive reuse market space than it is a green space (such as the High Line). This current plan was backed by Irwin Cohen who developed the Chelsea Market in the Meat Packing District and will be presented to Communty Board 11 for review. The land is owned by the city so that approval from the EDC will be another step. This week's article from DNAinfo has more details: LINK. Read more about history of the local market that used to house over 500 hundred vendors and served uptowns Puerto Rican community in our past post: LINK


  1. This sounds like it would be great but I won't get my hopes up yet.

    That DNAinfo article has a quote that I find unbelievable: "Real estate in Harlem is far more expensive than any other real estate quarter in the city with similar demographics,"

    Seriously? There are so many empty storefronts in harlem above 125th St.

  2. I like the idea. The area underneath the tracks is truly underutilized real estate that should be put to use in some beneficial way for the economic development of the community. In its current dormant state, it is basically a public littering area and de facto living quarters for the homeless. There have been numerous proposals for this space over the years, so I won't get my hopes up. However, there does appear to be an increased focus on this space recently.

  3. I wish this all the success in the world but comparing it to the Highline? Quite a stretch.