Maria Appia, 68, retraced her steps Tuesday as she remembered the farmers market at the plaza between the Twin Towers before 9/11.
After 16 years of recovery and rebuilding, the beloved market of farm-fresh greens, fruits, maple syrup and cheese returned, delighting office and construction workers with the change in their lunchtime routines underneath the white-winged Oculus, the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transportation hub.
“It is wonderful to see all these fresh apples,” said Appia, a Queens resident who works as a budget analyst in lower Manhattan. “It takes me back before 9/11. It brings back the stability from back then, when one would wander around picking up something good eat.”
Despite her uplifted spirits, she still thought about the people who were killed in the twin towers and the aftermath of the attacks when she returned to her Liberty Street office.
Red beets, rhubarb, bok choy, string beans, and snap peas spilled out over long tables alongside trays of red juicy strawberries from Migliorelli Farms in upstate Tivoli.
“A lot has changed,” said Ken Migliorelli, owner of the farm, which has been operating for three generations and whose stand was one of the market’s original staples before Sept. 11th.
He hopes for a profitable business that echoes the days when the market and the neighborhood buzzed with Wall Street financial professionals.
“It’s touristy now and we hope that the market will bring out residents and the community that likes to cook,” he said.
New to the market were stands selling homemade vodka made from potatoes, fresh lavender from Long Island and an array of Catskill maple syrup desserts and sweets from upstate.
Chevene Levens, 37, of Sunnyside, Queens, who works for a nearby architectural firm, visited the market with a co-worker who bought mustard greens, rainbow chard and leeks.
“It’s good to be outside and see all this greenery,” she said.
A summer breeze kept the market cool, and people ate their lunches and rested their feet at several picnic tables in front of the market stalls.
“This was a beautiful surprise,’’ said Maria Iacovone, 50, of Rockville Centre who works for an engineering company. “It is a thrill to feel like I am part of the city and connecting with it. It’s a nice change from our usual deli run for lunch.”