2344 Arthur Avenue

Opened October 28, 1941, with “120 stalls for the sale of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and other items sold on pushcarts.” Mayor La Guardia believed that the chaotic street scenes around pushcart markets were bad for the city’s image, that street markets impeded the passage of fire engines and ambulances, and that it would be much easier for the city to regulate and tax vendors if they were in enclosed, city-owned spaces. An often-reproduced photograph from the 1930s shows Crescent Avenue curving into Arthur Avenue, with a view north of the west side of Arthur Avenue. A close look at the photo reveals that the buildings then are the same as the buildings now. What’s different is that the roadbed of Arthur Avenue is covered with crowded stalls selling all manner of foodstuffs. It was precisely to get rid of this that, for better or worse, Mayor La Guardia built the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, and similar markets throughout the city, including the Essex Street Market in the Lower East Side and La Marqueta in East Harlem.

Photo courtesy of Bronx Little Italy.