ON MARKET WITH THE NEW MAYOR
Mike Purzycki will take the oath of office as the new mayor of Wilmington on January 3, 2017. He talks about where Market is now, the fact that he’s not a “meme creator,” and how his favorite spot on Market ties Wilmington’s history and future together.
On the new residents: “It’s been decades and decades since people lived on Market Street. But today, residential is where we're heading. Dining and entertainment is what Market Street has got to be. The Riverfront, 10 years ago, it had all the making of a destination and it never could get there until Justison Landing and Christina Landing opened, a couple amenities were built, and all of a sudden the place was jammed all the time. And it just happens overnight. It happens in a year, and all the people who weren't there a year ago are there now.”
On bringing new eats to Market: “People will travel for a good restaurant. They will go anywhere for a good dining experience. But they're not going to come here if you can find it on Kirkwood Highway or Route 202. So, I think we do ourselves a disservice by dumbing down our dining. I want to have high-end dining experiences to get people thinking and start to equate Wilmington with high-end cultural experiences.”
On the new Market business community: “I think the new businesses on Market are going to be businesses that people my age hardly understand. I mean, they're all the things that my son is doing right now, this fast world of influencers and marketers and meme creators. And that really does not require a New York location anymore. You need a business friendly place, a place that has a little bit of a cultural dimension to it, that’s appealing in the way a 30 year-old would find appealing, not in the way I'd find appealing. And I'm fine with that. I know that. And I'm looking to young people, I'm looking to all the young entrepreneurs in the city who are forward thinking, who for our good fortune want to stay here in our city, they want to make the city better. That's everywhere from a hairstylist to Carvertise and everything in between. It's The Mill. It's 1313. It’s those places where we can create an environment that really feels great.”
On his favorite place to visit, and Market’s place in history: “One of the great gems of this state is the Delaware Historical Society. I think that is such a treasure sitting right in the middle of Market. And somehow, we have failed to accentuate it enough. The great thing about old architecture is that it imparts a sense of richness to your whole experience that you can't get in a new building. I don't care what mall you go to, it's still a mall. It's still glass and steel, it's cold, and there are no echoes on the past. When you go to that entire complex, you get a tremendous sense of our history and who we were and what was here.”
“We want to make Market part of an historic tapestry which includes the Underground Railroad and all the shipbuilding and all of the economic activities that took place along Market for years, including the DuPont company. Those things are all part of what we are. I think everything down there has got to remind the visitor of what went on here.”
On the future of Market: “It's not all there yet, we all know that, but I think the progress has been remarkable and the experience of walking Market Street, to me, is so pleasing and some of the architecture is so attractive, we're probably 65 percent of the way there, toward something I think is going to be pretty extraordinary when it's all finished.”