Design New England

Haymarket Through Time

Avril and Otto Quarters.jpg
In the photo “Avril Bringing Quarters,” long time customer Avril Gardner pays in rolls of quarters, an exchange necessary for the vendor to make change. Courtesy of Historic New England, photo by Justin Goodstein.

By Allison Nekola

At Design New England, we like to give credit where it is due and we fully acknowledge that our story “There’s Only One Haymarket” in our September/October 2015 issue (due in homes September 1) was inspired by Haymarket, the Soul of the City, the exhibition now on display at the Adams Gallery at Boston’s Suffolk University.


A collaborative effort by Historic New England and the Haymarket Pushcart Association, the show is appropriately named. It truly captures the grit and wit of the Haymarket experience and we urge anyone who cares about the city and its history to see the show before it closes August 31. Justin H. Goodstein’s photographs grasp the essence of a place where for more than a century vendors have hawked produce, meat, and fish to shoppers looking for good prices and good products as he follows the merchants and their customers through all four seasons. The show included videos that trace the evolution of the market, with photos, illustrations, and interviews with historians, market vendors, and long-time customers telling stories of times past and how changes in the economy and population force the marketplace to adapt. What began in 1830 as a place to buy hay (ergo the name Haymarket) for horse feed and mattress stuffing now provides fresh food to eager consumers of every ethnicity. West Indian cooks come for cows feet and burned cow skin. There is jackfruit from Jamaica and halal meats along with the lettuce, onions, and potatoes.
This exhibit embraces the old and recalls what used to be, but it also looks to the present. As the market finds its way amid the law firms, trendy restaurants, and the new indoor Boston Public Market that have moved into the neighborhood, we are reminded that season after season, Haymarket evolved by seizing opportunity.
Haymarket, the Soul of the City
Through August 31, daily 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Free
Suffolk University’s Adams Gallery
120 Tremont Street, Boston, MA; suffolk.edu/adamsgallery

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