Essex Market Shut Down for Private Maker’s Mark Event, Leaving Locals Confused [Updated]

Posted on: October 11th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

The following guest post was written by Joshua Cohen, a Lower East Side resident and patron of Essex Market.

I think the Essex Market, generally speaking, has been a great model for public-private partnerships.

But last night, the Market hosted a private event for Maker’s Mark whiskey, where the local community’s interested were certainly not considered.

The Market was shut down at 6pm, precisely the peak of afterwork shopping hours. Parts of the Market were roped off, but there was no one there to explain what was going on. No posted signs, no security, no market personnel to inform neighbors about why they were unable to get their dinner. There were dozens of confused customers who had no idea what was going on.

I asked someone who looked like they were in charge what was happening. Turned out to be an employee of Maker’s Mark, and their only response was to “get out of here” and “get out of my face.” The individual then put their hands on me to physically move me out of the way.

The Economic Development Corp., which operates the Essex Market, should do a better job communicating corporate closures to the public. But more importantly, set guidelines about how private event organizers interact with everyday patrons.

This should spark a conversation about whether it’s really appropriate for publicly funded spaces like Essex Market to be closed down for these type of corporate events.

A spokesperson from EDC responded to the allegations with the following:

There was signage posted throughout the market, ample security, and posts about the event (which was open to anyone) on our social media and within some other media outlets. Furthermore, vendors who had interest were all incorporated into the event and received payment for their services.

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