The Legendary Harlem Mart 125, 1986-2002

August 22, 2023

Harlem Mart 125 was an indoor market located at 252 West 125th Street in Harlem, New York City.

It was opened in 1986 as a way to provide local street vendors with a place to sell their goods indoors, rain or shine. The market was owned by the City of New York and was operated by the Department of Small Business Services.

The market was built on a site that was previously occupied by a parking lot. The construction of the market was funded by a combination of city and federal grants.

The market was originally named the Harlem Flea Market, but the name was changed to Mart 125 in 1990. The market was designed by the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle.

Mart 125 was initially successful, with over 200 vendors selling a variety of goods, including African clothing, jewelry, and food.

However, the market began to decline in the early 1990s due to a number of factors, including rising rents, competition from other markets, and the general decline of Harlem’s economy. The market closed in 2002 and has been vacant ever since.

In recent years, there have been plans to revitalize Mart 125. In 2019, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that it was considering turning the market into a mixed-use space with retail, office, and cultural space. However, these plans have not yet been finalized.

The closure of Mart 125 was a loss for the Harlem community. The market was a source of jobs and economic opportunity for local residents, and it also provided a space for African vendors to sell their goods and share their culture.

The redevelopment of Mart 125 is an opportunity to bring the market back to life and to create a new space for economic development and cultural vibrancy in Harlem.

The Closure

The market was closed in 2002 due to financial problems. The market has been vacant ever since.

Photo credit: 1) Source. 2) Photos of Mart 125’s present interior were presented to Community Board 10 last week. (NYC EDC).

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