The organizers of the Kingston Farmers’ Market have announced a change in venue for the 2013 Uptown edition, slated to open Saturday, May 25. The Uptown market, traditionally held every Saturday on Wall Street between North Front and John streets, with Crafts on John Street every other week, will now move south one block.
The Saturday markets will now begin at Main Street by Old Dutch Church and end at the corner of John Street. John Street will no longer host crafts, which will be relocated to “courtyards” of businesses on Wall Street.
The plan, however, is not without its chinks. In explaining the move, market board Chairwoman Donna Brooks, co-owner of Hudson Coffee Traders, cited complaints that the large box trucks were blocking several businesses on Wall toward North Front. She said the new location will move stands in front of more businesses already closed on weekends and will therefore inconvenience fewer shop owners.
The Traders of the Lost Art religious icons and eclectics shop is at 332 Wall Street, near North Front. Owner Ken Abataya has been unhappy with the Farmer’s Market location since he opened in early 2006. “I would hate to see it go on any part of Wall Street where it might affect business, but this is an acceptable compromise,” said Abataya, who said he loses $5,000 to $10,000 a year due to the market blocking his storefront.
His neighbor, Wall Street business owner and real estate attorney Jon Hoyt, is open with Saturday hours. He said he is personally rather neutral on the block shift, but raised several points of concern. Hoyt questioned what will happen when either St. Joseph’s or Old Dutch has Saturday weddings or funerals, which occur simultaneously with regularity.
Hoyt said he would have liked for the Wall Street businesses to be polled on both the positive and negative impacts the market incurs. “During rain days, I have noticed that many of the vendors will tend to move under the canopy as well as the shoppers,” Hoyt pointed out. “Also shoppers and many seniors will take refuge from the summer sun under the [Pike Plan] canopies. Shoppers also like to be able to sit on the benches as well.”
Hoyt added that the upper section of Wall Street also has much-needed garbage receptacles, which become more infrequent as one ventures southward. Lastly, Hoyt said that the canopies offer electrical outlets for the vendors to plug in their refrigerating systems, coffee pots and other electrified appliances. “Very little reconfiguration would be needed for the trucks which were blocking businesses to be able to park in front of closed businesses,” said Hoyt. “If I were the farmers’ market, I would question which block is more accommodating.”
Karen Clark Adin, owner of Wall Street’s Bop to Tottom on the corner of Wall and John, and a member of the market board, said the plusses of the relocation are that more businesses are closed slightly further south. She admitted that there is not going to be a lot of places where vendors can hook into electric; citing her desire to see the market grow and succeed, has volunteered electric from her own shop. As for the inevitability of church weddings and funerals, Adin said the market board has been discussing the issue, but added that most processions seem to come down Main Street rather than Wall Street.
Adin felt there is a danger that the businesses open on the northern end of Wall Street will likely be negatively impacted because she envisions that many shoppers will park behind the courthouse, go to the end of the market at Wall and John and not continue to walk up any further, since they are carrying perishable foods and their cars are in the opposite direction.
When asked why simple reconfigurations couldn’t be made to relocate the larger, obstructing box trucks or vendors, she said the market has been using the same layout for years and does not want to change it. “I think it’s going to be good,” she said. “Old Dutch Church and Friends of Historic Kingston are happy.”