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Not in their back lot: Church nixes Ridge farmers market

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A farmer’s market won’t take root in Bay Ridge because a church isn’t willing to sacrifice its parking lot.

Neighbors and elected officials had hoped to bring fresh fruit and vegetable venders to the lot behind Our Lady of the Angels church on Fourth Avenue at 74th Street — but the house of worship nixed the proposal after a town hall meeting earlier this month.

This being Bay Ridge, the issue was parking.

“What would I do if a prominent member of my church had a funeral and I had to tell my congregation that no one would have a place to park?” said Father James Devlin.

The church’s veto puts the proposed Bay Ridge farmer’s market on ice until planners can find another site.

“Neighbors didn’t want to deal with the perceived traffic, the perceived noise, and the perceived disruption to their quality of life,” said Greenmarket Director Michael Hurwitz, who oversees the city’s 46 farmer’s markets — nine of which are in Brooklyn. “Now we have to go back to the drawing board to find a new location.”

But the farmer’s market most-vocal supporter, Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), isn’t ready to give up on the 74th Street lot just yet.

“We’re gathering more data on resident support for the farmer’s market in that location,” said Kwame Patterson, a spokesman for Gentile. “People who live on the block really want the market. They’re putting together petitions.”

But for every supporter of the proposed fruit and vegetable market, there’s a neighbor who thinks the whole plan is rotten to the core.

“It’ll be a zoo out here on the weekends,” said Rosie O’Morrow, 68. “This is a pretty quiet neighborhood, and I like it that way. They can easily put a farmers market somewhere else.”

— with Emily Lavin

Updated 5:06 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

DKNY from Bay Ridge says:
Why dont they just use the school yard of a public school? That's public property!!!!The vendors could make a donation to the school weekly.(Schools always need the extra cash for extra-curricular activities for the kids) and the schools don't need the property on the weekends..
April 25, 2008, 7:21 am
Spotless Mind from Bay Ridge says:
Why in the world did they announce this initiative (Gentile?) when they hadn't even cleared the space from the Church? Typical.
April 25, 2008, 4:15 pm
bay ridgeite from Bay Ridge says:
Spotless Mind: probably because the priest from OLA was initially in favor of it, then suddenly his opinion changed - I wonder why.
April 27, 2008, 9:09 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
There have to be dozens of other places in Bay Ridge the Farmer's Market can be held. It should take about a day of planning to find another location close by. I don't see the problem.
And the church is totally valid in their reasons for not allowing the market in their parking lot.
April 28, 2008, 11:05 am
ann from Bay Ridge says:
Isn't there a subway and a bus stop right near the church? People in Bay Ridge are far too attached to their cars. First complaining about stop lights that are making the neighborhood safer, and now KOing a greenmarket that would bring in much needed fresh vegetables to a wasteland of groceries because they can't park? Utterly ridiculous. This is New York City people, not the Midwest.
April 29, 2008, 1:36 pm
Nancy Alexander from Bay Ridge says:
I actually am from Bay Ridge, but moved to California over 30 years ago. In Santa Barbara, we have 5 Farmer's Markets per week, in different neighborhoods each day. This keeps it from turning into a crowd control problem. Have you considered a park, such as Bliss Park, or Shoreline? Most purchasers will walk or bike, so its just the vendors you need to worry about for parking.
April 29, 2008, 2:07 pm
djs from bay ridge says:
Agreed that there is ample room in BR for a farmer's market - finding a new space should not be difficult. Hopefully the offering would be a little more ample that what's at the "farmers markets" in Sunset Park and Coney Island, which seemed to be just one or two vendors selling a few different things.

Unfortunately, BR is full of people who will complain about anything. No matter where they put it, it'll be easy to find another quote from somebody who just doesn't want anything to change.
April 30, 2008, 8:45 am
Janice Schiavo from 447 73 St. Bayridge says:
I expected that from Father Devlin. He is not about the community its all about me. I've had several issues with Father Devlin, one being I am Italian and was use to a parish being there for others needs. I will give you an example. I was receiving Ashes on Ash Wed.,and took a small packet that was there for people who are sick,and cannot attend Mass. So after I received ashes ,and took one bag to give to my neighbor who was sick. He had the nerve to ask me and tell me that they were for people who could not make Mass. I was beside myself. I was so angry that, when I went to work I called him and told him that I was very angry, mean while there were about 10 people in front of me who took the ashes and he said nothing to them. I think I was singled out because I had an earring in my nose and several on my earlobes. I then proceeded to tell him to ask the people on my block about me, and see what their answers were. I find he is not a compassionate person. I guess I am use to a church where the prime concern is for the people and not the politics.
Thank you
Janice Schiavo
May 21, 2008, 10:36 am

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