Twenty-five years in the making, Bridgemarket is an innovative adaptive re-use of the landmarked space beneath the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge. It served as a public farmer’s market until the 1930s, when it was taken over by the New York City Department of Transportation and turned into a storage facility. The structure is notable for its 36 tile vaults by the architect Rafael Guastavino, who introduced an adaptation of the Catalan vault to the United States. Bridgemarket is one of his most dramatic public spaces.
Transformation of Bridgemarket re-establishes this structure as one of the city’s great marketplaces. Three commercial tenants—Guastavino’s (a private catering hall), The Conran Shop, and Food Emporium—occupy 98,000 square feet on three levels. On the 59th-Street side, a 3,800-square-foot freestanding glass-and-steel structure serves Conran’s as a small retail space at ground level and as the entrance to the main store, on the lower level.
Just east of this pavilion is a public garden whose focus is the Municipal Art Society’s Blashfield Fountain, which celebrates Evelyn Blashfield, the Society’s founder and a champion of public city spaces.
Restoration included cleaning the bridge, replacing the windows with insulated glass curtainwalls, and replacing all damaged tiles and terracotta details in the vaults.