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Italian Market, Will This Wonder Really Happen in… Chinatown?


An Italian market for Chinatown? The question mark is natural. But a restaurant manager says he’ll bring Mercato Fabbrica, an elaborate Italian market, to the corner of Broadway and Canal. Observers are not so sure.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

415 Broadway, Site of Mercato Fabbrica, an Italian Market for Chinatown
Proposed site, 415 Broadway, for Mercato Fabbrica, a ridiculously upscale Italian market for Chinatown.

The promise is almost comical.

But according to multiple publications, an Italian Market planned for Chinatown is a “culinary destination inspired by the great markets, department stores and social clubs around the world.”

It gets worse. I promise.

According to 6sqft, the building is “known for its Art Moderne facade.”

In truth, it’s better known for graffiti lately, along with a string of vanishing pop-ups. Today, Shock Therapy fills the space. The new Italian Market may share the name, at least as a subtitle.

Doubt clouds the future.

A gifted commenter on Tribeca Citizen asked if it was “conceived by The Pretentious Trendy Generator app?”

Another noted that no one filed for a required permit with the City Department of Buildings in over two years.

Who Ruined The High Line?

A personal observation… 

It’s my good luck that I worked jobs that sent me all around New York City for over twenty years. I explored countless street corners. Including Broadway and Canal.

I first took note on my way to a meeting at Health & Hospitals. The filth in the area, on the fringes of Chinatown, was discouraging. But 415 was then a Citibank, and seeing dual language instructions on the cash machine caught me eye.

Chinatown is one of the few places where the city celebrates multiple cultures.

Over the years, the building lost Citibank, then gained graffiti, sure sign of a down-trending neighborhood.

That’s why Mercato Fabbrica strikes as very odd. And unlikely.

Can An Italian Market Thrive in Chinatown?

Scratch your head. Rub your eyes. It still doesn’t make sense.

Until someone applies to the Department of Buildings for permits, Mercato Fabbrica is mist, imagination and pretty dubious.

In the meantime, this “brainchild of Michael A. Spalding, who was a manager at Miss Lily’s and Hecho & Dumbo in the East Village” makes big claims.

According to 6sqft…

“Plans for Mercato Fabbrica include a marketplace for artisanal groceries on the ground level; a tea parlor, nano-brewery, café, and European-inspired boutique on the second floor, and a rooftop terrace with a plant-based café, bar, and outdoor cinema.”

“Most curiously, the third floor will be home to what the developers are calling Pax Romana, ‘a culinary social club with co-working lounge, bar​, cookbook and vinyl libraries, podcast broadcasting and listening suites.'”

Sounds as great as it does ridiculous.

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