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Let’s start with a confession: When we started, we weren’t sure we’d make it a year.

New stories every Wednesday, every week – just about Market? There are beats, there are niches, and then there was NewMarketWilm and 12 blocks of the tightest territory we’d ever covered. Were there enough stories out there?

We began this project with a belief that most people didn’t know Market as we knew it – the people, the places, the buzz on the street, the feeling that something was happening and it could be unexpected and exciting and genuinely … new. We wanted to share.

Turns out, we didn’t know Market at all, because it was shifting under our feet.

Photographer Joe del Tufo: “I’m downtown all the time, since 2008. I’ve seen the change happen granularly and I’ve seen it happen holistically. Every time I’m on the street, something new is being built, something is shifting. Sometimes things are closing, but more often than that, what’s coming up behind is some interesting new thing that’s going to level up Market Street.”

Photographer Jim Coarse: “We’ve photographed retailers and restauranteurs and those people you see on the street where you think, ‘Hey, I need to talk to this person because I see them all the time.’ The more I think about it, the more I think about how incredibly interactive it has been, and how personable it has been for us to meet a lot of people on Market Street.”

The people. That’s who you wanted to read about. Of the 10 most popular stories in our four-year run, six of them were just about the People of Market. Jonathan Whitney. Mayor Mike Purzycki. Dan Sanchez. Brianna Hansen. Lani Schweiger. And at the top of that list, the brothers behind the scenes of more NewMarketWilm stories than we could count, Rob and Chris Buccini.

(What else filled out the top 10? Burgers, beer, coffee … and one gorgeous wedding.)

Our favorites?

Jim: “Last summer, I was on the roof of the Grand Opera House harvesting honey. I remember going into it thinking, ‘Don’t fear them. If you have fear, if you swat at them, they’re going to sting you. Be cool with it. Be one with the whole situation.’ … And it was really great. I loved it. I’m all about bees and honey now.”

Joe: “I loved going in to Wright & Simon, because Leonard Simon has been there for decades. He’s built a business and knows how to make Market work for him, but he had a lot of insight about how Market is now working for everyone.”

Jim: “I loved the year I was on the float during the holiday parade — up there, clicking away, trying to get as much as possible as we went through the Market Street corridor.”

Joe: “I loved how when we were doing an hour on Market, we kept running into interesting stories. The first time, I thought we might have to create something out of nothing, but even on the second day of the new year, when so many offices were still closed for the holiday, there was so much happening in quiet corners, behind the scenes. And the fact that it still could surprise me was surprising.”

I got to listen. NewMarketWilm began as an homage to Humans of New York, but as stories grew in length, it became more of an oral history project. I loved hearing Tizzy Lockman talk about her father, Jerry Bilton about his days selling waterbeds at the Delaware State Fair, and Sarah Willoughby about growing up in the south and seeing the city in a way that only a non-native can see. I didn’t grow up here either, but I love this city – for its history, for its people, for how much sustains through the years and how much is always new.

I hope we captured a bit of what it felt like to live through this moment of time on Market. Thanks for joining us. On behalf of Joe + Jim + Justin at Moonloop, our intrepid designer/web person/guiding light Jennifer Lawson, and everyone at the Wilmington Alliance who sponsored this project over the past four years … we’ll see you on Market.

- Matt Sullivan


North Market Street | Wilmington, DE

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