The Haymarket Project

Historic New England, Justin H. Goodstein, and the Haymarket Pushcart Association
Boston, MA

The Haymarket Project features the film and exhibition, Haymarket: the Soul of the City, a Haymarket publication, and tours of Haymarket. The goal is to introduce the history of the market and show how Haymarket was traditionally a market of immigrants and continues today, providing a vital service to Boston. Sellers of produce have clustered in Boston’s Haymarket since at least 1830. Vendors sell huge varieties of produce at low prices from open stands and pushcarts, while grocers sell cheese, meats, spices, and ethnic foods from shops nearby. Roughly 2/3 of vendors are of Italian descent; operating family-owned stands for generations. Relative newcomers from Asia, North Africa, and Caribbean have expanded the variety of produce, serving a more diverse customer base.

The project pairs photographs taken of pushcarts, shops, workers, and customers with oral histories of HPA members–themselves representing many nationalities. The oral histories and photographs were posted as an on-line series (2013 – 2015). The documentary (director, Justin Goodstein, written by Turino and Goldstein) features a visual history of the Market District and interviews with vendors and shoppers. It discusses the history of Haymarket and the vital role it plays in the lives of Boston’s changing population. Immersive walking tours allow vendors to tell their diverse stories while participants learn the history, how the market continues to serve immigrants, and taste the Market’s global wares.

The Haymarket Project relates to the Historic New England and the Haymarket Push Cart Association’s missions by preserving and presenting recent history and the stories of underserved populations. By collecting oral histories, documenting the market in photographs, and using these to serve the public through an exhibition, film, walking tour, and publication, the project has involved and served a diverse audience with this story of historic continuity in a unique Boston space.