Summer brings an overflow of produce to the city's farmers markets. The markets as we know them were started in a parking lot on 59th Street in 1976 by GrowNYC and evolved into more than sixty markets, from the grand affair at Union Square to markets in Jackson Heights, Brownsville, St. George, Parkchester, and other neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
Farmers, however, were bringing their goods into the city's markets from surrounding farmland well prior to the 1970s.
Large wholesale markets operated on the west side of lower Manhattan from the early 1800s into the mid-1900s, and the Fulton Fish Market opened in the South Street Seaport in 1822, surviving there until 2005. Restaurants and stores bought their day's stock in these markets, and so did peddlers who sold their merchandise from pushcarts on the streets of the Lower East Side and throughout the city.
The markets received most of their food via boats on the East River and the Hudson until the rise of the railway. The railroads were later supplanted by trucks, rendering the High Line, for instance, obsolete.
Take a look back at how New Yorkers got their fresh food in times past and come to the Museum to see Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Cart Program, an exhibition documenting the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene program that provides under-served communities with access to fresh fruits and vegetables via hundreds of mobile produce stands.
The Museum of the City of New York is in the process of digitizing prints, photographs, and drawings showing the evolution of the city, its people, and its built environment. Explore more than 62,000 historic photographs via the Museum's online Collections Portal.