Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sundays at Reading Terminal Market Threatened


rlibkind
 Share

Recommended Posts

The Reading Terminal Market merchants who have been open on Sundays are, by and large, pleased with the results. Some are grateful, because the additional sales are helping to overcome the rent increases under the new leases.

But now, some merchants fear the Sunday experiment is threatened. They hear that Mayor Street does not like the idea of Sunday openings and may act, through his representatives on the Reading Terminal Market Corporation Board, to prevent making Sunday openings permanent.

I've got a call into the mayor's office to confirm these reports and will report once they get back to me.

More than half of the non-Amish merchants have been participating in the Sunday openings, and traffic has been growing. Last Sunday more than 15,000 visited, less than a normal Saturday but pretty close to the weekday average.

Although the overwhelming sentiment of non-Amish merchants is supportive of Sunday hours, it would be disingenuous to suggest that view is universal. A number of merchants understandably enjoy having their Sundays free for church, family or other non-mercantile endeavors. The issue, though, is this point of view may be forced upon those who do not share it. Market management has made it clear Sunday openings are strictly voluntary.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's just ridiculous.

I was there last Sunday as well.

It's a better time for us to shop.

Why does the government/mayor's office have to be involved?

What gives him the right to say RTM should be open or closed on Sunday's?

It's like the government talking about foie gras and what we can and cannot eat.

McDonald's are open on Sunday's. I guess it's better to eat trans fat and junk food on Sunday's than fresh market food.

Unbelievable.

Philly Francophiles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob:

Please do get back to us when you get more details from Hizzoners office. Also find out to whom we can address the flood of e-mails we plan to send to try and convince them otherwise. He's a fool if for no other reason than the tourist dollars that would pour into the market on Sundays. Not to mention those of us that live here and would like the option of shopping on a day when we're free to do so.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just when I thought the city was moving forward from that Backwards thinking. Leave it to the biggest pimple on the ass of Philadelphia to screw it up. I am not surprised. He has torpedoed more ideas and expansion to Philadelphia in the past eight years then anyone I can Imagine. Maybe his brother is not making money off that deal.

Although the Sunday reading terminal is voluntary, my feeling is that if you do not want business then get out of the business. The reading terminal could , Could out shine almost every farm market in the country if they would just wise up and get jump on a program.

This is important to the locals of the city who can not get to the market at 6:00 during the week because it closes too early. Let the market not just be a tourist destination. People need to speak up, because if this is true and the powers that be let this good thing die ,than Philadelphia is just living up to the reputation that I wish it never had.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While walking to RTM today, Sunday, we passed the big State Store on Chestnut. I think it's Chestnut, around 10th or so, and it was open.

So, if a liquor store is open on a Sunday (which we personally also approve of), why can't a fresh produce, meat, fish place also be open?

And, yes, the Convention/tourist people, as well as us locals, really appreciate it, and it brings money into the city...

What is his reasoning?? Is there any? Or just a power trip?

(By the way, had a great lunch today at the Handmade Noodle place (Nan Zhou?) on Race. He had a seafood soup that was delicious, I had the pork soy noodles. Watched the making of the noodles which always amazes me, the whole thing was $10.50- plus tip! Outrageous.)

Philly Francophiles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(By the way, had a great lunch today at the Handmade Noodle place (Nan Zhou?) on Race. He had a seafood soup that was delicious, I had the pork soy noodles. Watched the making of the noodles which always amazes me, the whole thing was $10.50- plus tip! Outrageous.)

I first ate there when it was brand new, 3-4? years ago. DH and i were wandering Chinatown as we sed to love to do and came upon it. What a delight! Watching the show of the hand-drawn noodles being made is as much fun as eating them! The food is delicious and unbelievable cheap! the portion is immense, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While my personal choice is to make Sunday a day for church and family, so I do not expect to shop at the RTM on Sundays, I totally support the opportunity for those who want to sell and buy on Sundays to have the RTM available to them and equally support the merchants who want to stay closed on Sundays. It should be a matter of completely free choice. I also hope that the larger merchants, such as Iovine's, who open Sundays and who have employees outside their families will respect the ones who wish to keep Sunday a day for church and will not penalize them for choosing not to work on Sundays. It would be equally good to see them give weekly free time to any who keep their day of prayer on Friday or Saturday.

I'd like to know that moron Street's reasons for his opposition!!! McD's inedible junk and booze, so why not fresh meat, fish and produce???

I agree with those who think the RTM should stay open later in the evening and I wish the Amish would stay all the way to 6 PM. I recently asked one of them why they closed early and even earlier on Wednesdays and was told "That's how it's always been". I wish they'd open longer. But I also suppose keeping the shorter hours has something to do with their family values, with actually being home with their families for dinner, etc. I also understand that their culture is wedded to tradition and they don't like changing things.

One can also understand that staying open after 6 PM may be a hardship for the small family stall owners who personally put in all the hours the market is open. Rosa (she and her husband Leo own Golden Seafood) was recently telling me how hard and exhausting it is to be open on Sundays, but that they appreciate the extra income. It is especially hard for her; she is the mother of a boy of 2 and is away from him an awful lot of hours.

Street has no business interfering with the free enterprise of all the stall owners, whichever choice they make about Sunday opening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is somewhere between second hand and tenth hand information - Doesn't mean it is not true. But, as far as I know, at this time, there is no confirmation that there are such plans.

It is a good idea, as others have suggested, to wait to see if the rumor is true and the reasoning behind it. Plenty of time for rants after that. At that point, please limit the discussion to the any decision re RTM Sunday openings and not a discussion on Philadelphia politics or politicians.

Thanks.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with those who think the RTM should stay open later in the evening and I wish the Amish would stay all the way to 6 PM.  I recently asked one of them why they closed early and even earlier on Wednesdays and was told "That's how it's always been".  I wish they'd open longer.  But I also suppose keeping the shorter hours has something to do with their family values, with actually being home with their families for dinner, etc.  I also understand that their culture is wedded to tradition and they don't like changing things. 

I think that the big issue for the Amish is getting back home. Most of them have to van pool back to and from Lancaster County. That's why they close earlier than 6. Their commute is way longer than most of ours. (Mr. Tarte Tatin)

Edited by TarteTatin (log)

Philly Francophiles

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in Boston, MA, when the Sunday "Blue Laws", originally established by the Puritans in the colonical Massachusetts Bay Colony, were still in effect (1630s to the 1970s -- no, I wasn't there for the WHOLE period :laugh: ). As a matter of fact, I believe the law making it illegal to laugh or play a violin within the Boston city limits has yet to be repealed (I can see it now: HEADLINE: "Boston Symphony string section carted off to jail ...."). When New Hampshire malls were allowed to be open on Sunday, the effect on Boston's business ... and on its merchants, was amazing. Blue laws were history very quickly, to everyone's benefit.

I am a firm believer in the freedom of consumers and of merchants to choose when they will shop (when they will be open for business) and when/if they will celebrate the Sabbath, according to whatever religion they choose to observe. Merchants and their employees should be able to determine how they address that issue.

I suspect the City's role in this comes from the historical fact that the Reading Terminal was a municipally owned building, part of whatever the predecessor to SEPTA was called ... for all I know, the City may still own the building and have leased it out to the RTM developers to create both the Convention Center and the RTM. In that sense, the City may be representing us on the Corporation as the ultimate stakeholders of the facility ... and hopefully representing us (a very diverse us!!) in whatever deliberation will happen to determine whether Sunday openings, currently an experiment, are made permanent.

I agree that if the PLCB stores, all the fast food joints, and most of the shopping locations in greater PHL are open on Sunday, it makes no sense to force the RTM to be closed ... but the choice of the vendor to be there or not, on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday based on the religion of the shop owners and their employees, must also be respected. I'd rather have RTM open and half the vendors there than an all or none situation.

Edited by JasonZ (log)

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suspect the City's role in this comes from the historical fact that the Reading Terminal was a municipally owned building, part of whatever the predecessor to SEPTA was called ... for all I know, the City may still own the building and have leased it out to the RTM developers to create both the Convention Center and the RTM. In that sense, the City may be representing us on the Corporation as the ultimate stakeholders of the facility ... and hopefully representing us (a very diverse us!!) in whatever deliberation will happen to determine whether Sunday openings, currently an experiment, are made permanent.

The Reading Terminal Market (history via RTM website) was not municipally owned, it was owned by the Reading Railroad. The Reading Company owned it until it was acquired by the Philadelphia Convention Center Authority (when the Convo. center was built.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After one message and three telephone conversations with underlings since last weekend, I've yet to hear from the mayor's communications director about the reports regarding the mayor's position on Sunday openings at the Reading Terminal Market.

As noted earlier, some merchants report Mayor Street is opposed to continuation of Sunday hours at the Reading Terminal Market, which were introduced earlier this fall as a "test" through the end of the year.

There could be any number of different reasons for the failure of the mayor's office to respond, not all of them nefarious:

<UL><LI>It simply could have slipped through the cracks. (Unlikely, given my four phone calls since last weekend, but still possible.)</UL><UL><LI>The communications director hasn't been able to discuss it with the mayor or other appropriate source in the office. (Also unlikely; if a political/government press officer isn't conferring with his/her client daily, he/she isn't doing their job.)</UL><UL><LI>They want to blow me off simply because my blog and eGullet aren't considered significant. (More likely than the previous two possibilities -- and who's to say such an assumption isn't correct :wink: )</UL><UL><LI>The mayor doesn't have a position. (Certainly possible, but there's no reason not to communicate that. If he wanted to hedge, the mayor's spokesperson could simply say: "As RTM management indicated, this is an experiment, so we'll let the experiment run its course and allow RTM management to assess the experiment rather than prejudge it.")</UL>Of course, there is at least one other possibility, one that, at this point in time, I think the most likely: the mayor does have a position, but wishes not to communicate it at this time.

As further update to my initial report, two different sources at the RTM have told me they have heard the reports of the mayor's opposition to continued Sunday openings. One source was at a loss to pin down the origin of the rumor; the other thought it originated with a member of the Reading Terminal Market Corporation's board.

FWIW, when the Sunday opening proposal was presented to the RTMC board, the one representative directly appointed by the mayor as his representative, Peter Iacovoni, voted in favor of the experiment.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ted Qualli, deputy communications director on the mayor's staff, finally responded today to my inquiry regarding the rumors that Mayor Street is opposed to continuation of Sunday hours at the Reading Terminal Market. Here's what he said:

"The mayor supports the Sunday hours."

End of story (I hope). Of course, the Sunday hours were established as a "test", so it's yet to be determined if they will be made permanent by market management.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...