Project Case Study: Park Avenue Market Mile
Meta Brunzema Architects, Harlem CDC, and Irwin Cohen
Not all sustainability is environmental; in this case, sustainability is economic and social.
Park Avenue Market Mile is a new type of semi-formal market and park promenade in Harlem and East Harlem—a mile-long commercial park promenade that will connect Central Park to Harlem River. From a series of parking lots and remnants of the historic La Marqueta marketplace under the Park Avenue MetroNorth viaduct, the area will be transformed into a lively open air complex of locally owned shops run by people who live in Harlem and East Harlem. A public shopping promenade with cultural activities reconnecting the east and west sides of the viaduct and linking Central Park to Harlem River Park will be created. Interspersed with informal places for eating, drinking, culture and entertainment—La Marqueta will express the vivid character that made it a special gathering space for generations of immigrants. Special cultural programs including movies, theater & performances may be organized to take place at the amphitheater between 115th and 116th street. Local and city-wide customers and tourists can experience the many distinctive flavors, products and spaces of the Market Mile – a showcase of Harlem’s skills and diversity.
All the businesses will consist of 315 family-owned and operated businesses employing approximately 750 full time residents of Harlem and East Harlem. Altogether, the project will have approximately 900 units and create more than 4000 direct and indirect local jobs. Plans even call for the community to manage and maintain the entire Market itself.
“Each block will have its own manager and several assistants who will address overall maintenance of La Marqueta. The managers can provide reports to an overseeing committee made up of representatives from the local community, including elected officials and staff from Harlem CDC and EDC. Cleaning and security will be done 24 hours per day in three 8-hour shifts. Each crew will be given prevailing wages.” —Meta Brunzema Architects