Thursday, June 21, 2012

Factoids from Reading Terminal Market celebration

At Monday's celebration of the Reading Terminal Market's Avenue D renovation and dedication of the Rick Nichols Room, I learned a bunch more about the RTM. The ceremonies also included the unveiling of the exhibit on the history of the market along the back wall of the Nichols Room.

From Paul Steinke, the market's general manager, in his opening remarks: the market and its merchans employ more than 400 people.

From Mike Holahan, president of the Reading Terminal Market Merchants' Association: When the market opened in 1892 there were 750 merchants -- two thirds of them butchers -- within the same footprint as today's market.
Of course, all of today's seating areas, including the center court which takes up about five percent of the square footage, was devoted to stalls back then. And most stalls were a lot smaller.
From Rick "Room" Nichols, retired Philadelphia Inquirer food columnist: the multi-purpose room named in his honor slopes downward toward center court because the fish mongers used to be there, and the slope directed water from the melting ice to the drain. He also observed that fish and newspapers have a "natural affinity" for each other.

Here are some photos from the Avenue D project celebration Monday.

Although Rick Nichols was the honoree at the morning ceremony, he
was the host with the most cupcakes at the Monday evening program

Domenic Spataro found a photo of his parents at the original family stall
when he toured the new historic exhibit on the back wall of the Nichols Room

Domenic Spataro, who died in January, and wife Dorothy (center) in photo taken about
1948 featured in the new Reading Terminal Market history exhibit in the Nichols Room.
Youngsters from the Chinatown Learning Center opened the ceremonies Monday morning
with some songs, including 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm'
Blackbird Society Orchestra also provided musical accompaniment to the festivities.


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