Village Market

In the sterile, dry gulch of corporate retail that has become the East Hampton Village business district, the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing push for a once-a-week farmers and makers market should be a priority, if for only one reason:  It would provide a valuable outlet for local residents, whether in agriculture, handcrafts, or wellness products, to sell to their friends and neighbors while bettering their bottom lines. 

Unfortunately, the concept was greeted coldly in Village Hall. After a proposal by the chamber for a market in Herrick Park was rejected (perhaps rightly, given the potential wear and tear on the grass) another, for a Friday afternoon bazaar on Percy’s Way, off Newtown Lane near Babette’s restaurant, was blasted out of the water the minute it surfaced. 

One place that might work, in our opinion, is an underused rear section of the Schenck parking lot, which has entrances on North Main Street and Newtown Lane. Another idea, if neither of the above is suitable, would be for the village to buy some land somewhere for the express purpose of a market that also could sometimes be used for picnics or low-key events. There seems little hope, however.

We have to wonder in whose interest the village’s management of the commercial district is, exactly. It obviously is not the small-scale local farmers, cooks, or craftspeople who would benefit from a high-visibility place to sell their wares. Nor is it in the interest of the majority of village and town residents, very few of whom are interested in most of what is sold on Main Street and Newtown Lane.

Instead of being rapidly hostile to anything new, Village Hall should work with the chamber of commerce to find an acceptable time and location for a market. Locals even might look forward to going into the center of town once again.