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The New Corona Plaza Market Doesn’t Seem Like Much of a Market At All

Vendors say the City's new vision for the plaza "feels like a slap in the face." Plus, more of Wednesday's links.

10:08 AM EST on November 29, 2023

Sanitation cops loom over Corona Plaza in July. (Erin Durkin / Hell Gate)

On Tuesday, the City announced that they were partnering with a Queens non-profit to allow  vending to resume at the acclaimed street food market in Corona Plaza, which had been dismantled in raids by City agencies this summer (the sweeps that shut down the original Corona Plaza were first reported by Hell Gate). But the announced provisions for the new Corona Plaza market sound nothing like the Plaza at the heights that had brought it acclaim in the first place—where the market was once home to up to 80 vendors, only 14 vendors at a time will be allowed to return from Wednesdays through Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.. What's more, in the beginning of this new regime, only non-food items will be sold, at least until food vendors have acquired Health Department permits. 

In the City's statement, they announced that the new Corona Plaza will be run by the Queens Economic Development Corporation, and that "city agencies will monitor and take enforcement action as necessary to keep Corona Plaza safe and clean." Mayor Adams is quoted in the press release as saying the new Corona Plaza plan will "[keep] our neighbors safe, [ensure] our streets are clean, and [create] economic opportunities for local residents." New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodríguez reiterated that the "first-of-its-kind community vending area" will be "safe, clean, and vibrant."

But one vendor told the New York Times that "there is a lot of anger" among the former cooks of Corona Plaza about the new plan. Ana Maldonado, who ran a tamale stand in Corona Plaza that she said provided her family's entire income, told the Times that the partial return "feels like a slap in the face."

15 former members of the Corona Plaza Street Vendors Association have already relocated to other neighborhoods, Rosario Troncoso, the Association's president, told the Times. She's quoted in the City's press release, but admitted to the Times that she was disappointed with how few stalls would be returning. The City has said after a few months, it plans to hand off the plaza to either a new non-profit or extend its agreement with the Queens EDC. “This is just the beginning,” Troncoso said. For what was once an incredibly vital asset to one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, let's hope she's right. 

These links are just the beginning:

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