Lower Manhattan has been home to public markets since the 17th century, but the rise of supermarkets and the transformation of the Financial District into a primarily commercial area drained away their customer base. Now, with the neighborhood rapidly growing in residents and the city still in the throes of the Great Foodie Awakening, the New Amsterdam Market seeks to restore food to its historic place in the public life of Lower Manhattan.
The market mixes produce, cheese, meat, and wine vendors with stands selling prepared foods. We concentrated on the latter. Our favorite bites of the day: the forget-you-aren't-in-Maine freshness of the lobster roll from Luke's Lobster; the tang of the braised beef, creme fraiche, and arugula slider from Jimmy's No. 43; the peasant-y crunch of the Norwegian ruis bread from Nordic Breads; the seasonal simplicity of the tomuto stecca from Sullivan St. Bakery; and the mix of crisp cracklings and tender pork in Porchetta's eponymous sandwich.
Our sweet teeth got a workout as well, courtesy of the Ice Cream Fair taking place. (Before sampling the frozen treats, we cleansed our palates with a bar of dark chocolate with almonds from Mast Brothers. We maintain professional standards, after all.) The sweet corn ice cream from Marlow and Daughters and the currants and cream from Van Leeuwen had us licking our fingers, but the top cone was Roberta's duck egg, lusciously mellow and soft with subtle citrus flavor. We couldn't resist going back for seconds.