The Void of City Market

I really like Indy's City Market in downtown Indianapolis. If you haven't been, you should make a trip down there. They have a bunch of different shops and places to eat. But as a warning, it is DEAD on the weekends.

It is a very cool and unique looking building that screams historic and a marketplace, does indeed, seem like a good fit for the location.

I don't work downtown, so I'm not sure how busy the place gets during the week, I would expect a fairly decent lunch crowd given that the city government building is across the street. However, any time I have gone the place has been pretty empty. It is by no means a tourist destination....and that is the VOID of City Market.

Boston has Faneuil Hall Market Place, Seattle has Pike Place Market, and even Saint Louis has Soulard Market. These places are cultural destinations. Whenever I have been to any of them, they are bustling with activity, tourists, and fun. They offer a place for an out of state guest to explore some of the tastes of the region and spend their tourist dollars on the local economy. These places are also very pedestrian friendly and people sometimes spend hours just enjoying the area.

I think Indy needs to make City Market more of a tourist destination. With the Indy Fringe Fest approaching I was reminded of all of the buskers at the Longest Dinner event....it dawned on me that Indy has no place that buskers seem to congregate. A busker is an outdoor performer who usually does some sort of magic or entertainment for tips. They are highly interactive performances where people laugh and seem to have fun. They can range from a short brief performances to something that takes much longer. Often times the performers are local theater crews that put on a skit from an upcoming show.

Ideally, it would be great to see Market street become pedestrian only on the weekends between the monument and City Market. I'd love to see the street host an out door farmers market and encourage buskers to perform. This would bring much needed activity to the area and would make City Market an important destination when a visitor came to Indy.

What do you think? Do you think the local streetside businesses would want a pedestrian only area, would this hurt traffic flow up Delaware? Would you want a place to bring guests?

Ps. Be sure to get your tickets to "The Longest Dinner" on August 13th. Tickets include a 3-course meal prepared slow-food style. Last year it was a lot of fun!


hazelmoon said...

I like your idea of making Market ped-only on the weekends, especially since it's not currently the feeder street for the interstate. Wish they had the Farmers Market open more than just Wednesdays during the day. Also, I hate in general when an area closes down so completely once all the downtown workers go home - parts of West Loop in Chicago are *awful* about this, and it makes it impossible to find anything open after 6pm on just about any day. Indianapolis isn't quite that bad, but that area of downtown really does go dead once the offices close for the evening.

Phil Lavoie said...

Once the offices close down people tend to congregate more near the Circle City Mall or Mass Ave. Probably due to the Restaurant and Nightlife options.

Perhaps City Market needs a later venue of some sort? Something that would bring people to that side of the city.

The parking garage and the old Bank One processing facility may become apartments, which could help.

Thanks for your comment.

Naarski (the Mrs.) said...

Even tho I hate crowds, Pike's Market in Seattle is a place I used love to go. Mainly because it is open at opportun times for my suburban family (weekends), has s so much food options (dry goods/seafood/produce), and really great local artists. I can't say I remember any of the Seattle Buskers. I do know that Pike's place homeless population has multiplied significantly in the past 5 yrs. This makes for a unfriendly place for people with children. Anyway, if I ever visited Indy in the spring or summer, I would definitely want to visit the Farmer's Market as a part of my city tour. As I'd love to buy local artist stuff to bring back home to my family.