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The Midtown Market

The ground floor of the old Sears building is now the Midtown Market and is fashioned after other famous markets as Fanneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston or Pike Place Market in Seattle. Although the Midtown Market just opened in May it has become a hub of activity for the neighborhood. I visited the market two times this week and both experiences were very different. On a weekday afternoon the market is buzzing with excitement. As I walked around to the various shops, grocery stores, and restaurants I was able to sense the diversity of the patrons. The experience was a refreshing blend of cultures so I went back to the market on Saturday at about 6pm for an evening meal with my family. I was very surprised by the subdued atmosphere for a weekend. As I walked up to the building there were very few people in the market and walking around I was surprised at the lack of energy. So I decided to have dinner and wait. My daughter and I ate at an Asian restaurant and realized they did not have a children’s menu and neither did the most of the other restaurants. The market had not considered families with children and this was very disappointing. I expected the energy to pickup as the night progressed; I quickly realized the market closes at 8pm and the market fell short of my expectation for a vibrant international market. This brings to mind similar projects in the 1980’s that tried to be the hub of a community but fell short, such as Riverplace and Calhoun Square. What is it that makes projects like this succeed or what makes them fail? I realized now that Midtown Market does not have the same energy and rhythm of the other markets. The surrounding neighborhood was active and just getting started when the market closed.