Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Florida-Union Market

Union Market Sign
The Florida-Union Market has been in the news over the past few months, as the opening of the New York Avenue subway station has provided better transit access, making the area more attractive to office developers, while at the same time the Market was studied as part of the Cluster 23 Economic Revitalization Planning Study recently conducted by the DC Office of Planning. (The study materials are not yet available online.)

Farmers Market and Flea MarketWholesale Market is in the background. On Saturday and Sundays, the Flea Market formerly located at RFK Stadium is held across from the Market, on 6th Street. Photo by Elise Bernard.

A few months back the Washington Post wrote about the Cluster 23 Study (note the photo in the article depicts a scene at the Saturday H Street NE FreshFARM Market, and is not from the area also known as the Capital City Market) as well as the Florida Market area, in another story entitled "Despite Challenges and Change, Market Is Still 'Another World': Faced With Ebbing Crowds, Capital City Complex Takes on International Flavor".

Litteri'sA Litteri, Inc. Photo by Kevin Palmer.

Other people, including erstwhile blogger Elise Bernard, have written about other aspects of the market area, such as Litteri's Italian Deli, one of the last vestiges of the market's Old World ethnic origins, and the source (imo) of the best Italian sub sandwiches in the city --Mangialiardos on Pennsylvania Avenue S.E. is not in the same league but that might just be my "Shout it out Northeast" bias.

These days, the market area caters to Asian and Hispanic clients--proprietors of small stores, bodegas, corner markets, and restaurants--who find that prices here are cheaper than from wholesale distributors, including Sysco, and involve no delivery fee (of course you have to pick up the goods yourself).

Besides the Wholesale Farmers Market, which is another public market built in the 1940s and more popular with lower-income DC residents, one of the things that no one has really talked about is that a number of the vendors in the Market area, that seemingly only serve wholesale clients, also sell to retail customers. But first things first.

Bi Bim Bab at Young's DeliBi Bim Bab at Young's Deli.

If you have a hankering for Korean food, but lack the means and/or time to drive to Fairfax County or Baltimore, there's always Young's Deli on the 300 block of Morse Street NE. Young's is a lunch counter for market workers, and mixes American breakfast foods, with Salvadorean items, and an extensive array of Korean items ranging from Kimchee Jigae (Kim Chee Soup--hot) to Bulgogi. Granted, it's not a place for a date, but the food is good and reasonably priced ($5.50 for most Korean items). It's open from 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Young's Deli

Young's DeliInterior at Young's Deli.

Eastern Supply and Best Restaurant Equipment also on Morse Street, sell items ranging from paper goods to pots and pans, at wholesale prices. Neither store comes close to the retail merchandising skills of Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, but then those stores don't sell wholesale cleaning supplies ...

Eastern Supply (paper goods, restaurant supply)Paper goods delivery at Eastern Supply.

On 3rd Street, Sam Wang's Produce and Kang's Farms both sell to retail customers. Wang's is open from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, and from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

Sam Wang Produce

Kang's FarmsThe sign's on Morse Street, but the retail operation is located at the north end of this long warehouse building.

Sam Wang ProduceAt Wang's make sure you go to the right counter for retail customers.

Kang's Farm is pretty elaborate (but I was less comfortable taking photos there) with extensive produce, fish, frozen foods, and canned, bottled, and bagged goods sections, with products ranging from Goya sodas (60 cents/bottle or $11/case) to cases of Goya pasta for $11, bags of potatoes, El Yucateco hot sauce (really good prices for you hot sauce fanatics). Kang's is comparable to a small supermarket, but with a fish counter and case quantities as well as single items. Kang's is open from 5:30-3:50 p.m.--Monday to Saturday.

Kang Market retailFull shelves at Kang's.

Sam Wang ProduceProduce room at Sam Wang's. Simple and direct.

Sam Wang ProduceWang's and Kang's have an extensive array of produce for international cuisines.

Also on 3rd Street, U.S. Beef sells great quantities of meat--if you're looking to buy cases of smoked turkey, etc., this is your place. Other places in and around the market area do sell to retail customers as well. So does United Wholesalers, on the south side of Florida Avenue at 4th Street, where many many years ago a Hot Shoppes restaurant was located.

I guess we'll have to try to schedule a tour.

Morse StreetMorse Street. Photo by Kevin Palmer.

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