Photo courtesy of MASC Hospitality Group
After initially hosting its seemingly last season in 2023, the Bronx Night market will be returning with more programming in mind for the neighborhood.
Created by MASC Hospitality Group (MHG), Bronx Night Market will re-emerge as a cultural hub for food, music and shopping in the borough on April 6.
Last year, Marco Shalma, founder of MHG, announced the decision to close down the popular market. Shalma noted that there were a number of challenges that resulted in the market’s closure, including sponsorship challenges, limited local endorsement and issues surrounding Fordham Plaza, where the market has been hosted since its inception.
“Past the pandemic, the condition of the plaza started deteriorating, not only from the facility itself, which is under the responsibility of DOB, and there was deterioration all over the facility, like the benches, there’s a lot of graffiti, bokeh glasses, stuff like that,” Shalma told amNewYork Metro. “There’s been violence, there’s been a few incidents where our vendors were attacked. So all of that combined with the fact that the illegal vendors have been in the plaza made it very difficult for us to work with our vendors and to guarantee their safety.”
However, hearing from the community how much the market would be missed as well as questions from local officials asking what it would take to get the market to return, Shalma said that really threw the decision into a loop.
“We’ve had more than 10,000 comments, DMs and emails hitting us up from the community post the announcement and everybody was so supportive from the Bronx, but the thing that really touched me really kind of undermines the decision was the fact that so many people say: why can’t we have nice things in the Bronx?” said Shalma. “It really touched myself, my partner and my team in a way that didn’t think wasn’t going to do that because of how much love the community has for that and how much the market represents the good stuff that we all have in the Bronx.”
After speaking with City Council member Oswald Feliz, Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson NYC DOT, Fordham Road BID, and Community Board 6, the plan came to not just bring back the Bronx Night Market to Fordham Plaza, but to also reclaim the plaza for new programming for the borough.
At the forefront of the programming is the creation of Cafe Locale, which will be making its home in Fordham Plaza. The store will be a haven for foodies and artisanal coffee fans and will also showcase products from 20 local vendors. Bronx Native will also be stepping in to offer merchandise and host a “Tiny Desk”-style series to spotlight the borough’s talent.
The programming will also feature a partnership with Bronx Eats, which promotes healthy, plant-based eating habits, with the addition of Fordham Farmers Market and The Bronx Vegan Bazaar. MHG will adobe partnering with The Bronx Is Reading to offer a curated bookstore as well as literary-themed activities to foster a love for reading for Bronxites of all ages.
“We’re going to reclaim this space back to the community. This is a public space, we want to make sure that it’s safe. It’s exciting,” said Shalma. “It is a great place for the community to enjoy yourself and we want to make sure that it happens. And for me, this kind of holistic approach to programming will help us deter any wrongdoings.”
The more expansive programming, which will be taking place multiple times a week, is expected to start fully this coming May.
“We all want to make sure that we all do our share and we’re going to program it. We’ve had a good support with the Council Member, the Borough President, DOT, the Fordham BID,” said Shalma. “We’re grateful that everyone recognized the importance of this project and we are happy to lead it, me and my team. It’s a lot of work, I did not expect to take on this kind of monumental task, but I am.”
Bronx Night Market is currently accepting applications for vendors. For more information, visit www.maschospitalitygroup.com/bronxnightmarket.