By Rene Thompson, Editor in Chief
The new Albuquerque Rail Yards Market offers an eclectic and different type of marketplace that deals an array of sights, sounds and smells to give market goers an accurate local experience of home-grown vendors, music and food, located at a time honored historical site near and dear to the heart of Burque.
Located at 777 First street NW in one of the oldest Albuquerque neighborhoods of Barelas, there are dozens of local booths at the rail yards, from artisan bakers, to local farmers, artists, food trucks, retailers, and music that give an impression of what Albuquerque has to offer, as well as giving market goers a look into the historic Albuquerque rail yards.
The blacksmith shop of the rail yards was re-purposed for the market, which opened its doors on May 4, with hopes of emulating a large and open Spanish style market, which can hold up to 999 people, according to cabq.gov.
This review is about some of the vendors at the market, but also what type of stuff to expect from this new community-driven initiative that will be going on until Nov. 2, every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Not only do most vendors have a square reader (mobile credit card app.) to accept most credit cards, but tokens are also usually available to be purchased from market organizers to make purchasing easier and more convenient.
There is a kid’s zone for educational arts and crafts, bands playing throughout the day on two separate stages, live art, massage therapists, belly dancers, face painting, and sample selections, just to name a few of the activities provided at the market throughout the day.
Patrons can also peek into surrounding buildings of the market to get a look into the history of the Albuquerque rail yards, but what would have been really cool, was if someone was there explaining the buildings, or at least had some signs set up about the history of each structure that could be accessed from the market.
Here is a short list of some of the vendors and what they had to offer, which could change from week to week.
It is suggested by this reporter that upon arrival market-goers must make their way to the Zendo booth that sells fresh, strong and delicious iced coffees served in massive 20 ounce mason jars, which customers get to keep.
The coffee also includes espresso ice cubes and an array of flavorings to choose from that will keep anyone going for the whole day, guaranteed.
These home-style treats are made by Zendo Art Gallery and Espresso Bar, with coffee mason jars costing $6 and only $4 in a regular cup.
Food Street Institute
At the rail yards there are a variety of food vendors, but for CNM students, there is the Street Food Institute that gives students a 10 percent discount with ID, and had an assortment of spicy and flavorful tacos as well as sandwiches, sweets and infused teas offered on the food truck monthly menu, which changes periodically.
The Oaxacan Memelitas tacos were mouth-wateringly exceptional, with pork shoulder, quesillo, black bean spread, and mole sauce.
The tacos were a recipe inspired by a trip made to Oaxaca by CNM student employees of the food truck in the 2014 spring semester.
If some people do not get a chance to check out the market, the Food Street Institute food truck is at Main campus every Tuesday and Thursday in the Ted Chavez hall parking lot until 3 p.m.
The splendid smell of fresh tortillas made on site along with packaged tortillas sold at the Tortilleria Cuauhtemoc booth giving a true Albuquerque feel and aroma to the market atmosphere.
Tortillas were sold in a variety of quantities and are worth the investment for making burritos or tacos with traditional Mexican style tortillas.
111 Media Collective
There was also a screen printing booth making merchandise on site with 111 Media Collective, who produce a variety of Albuquerque themed shirts, jackets, bags, or any other garment provided by patrons.
111 Media Collective will either provide customers merchandise to get printed, or patrons can bring their own merch and choose from an assortment of Albuquerque-related prints put on right on site while customers can watch and wait for their custom-made stuff.
Cost of a t-shirt provided with print is just $10 and only $5 when customers bring their own.
Guerrilla Graphix of New Mexico has not forgotten its Burque roots, with providing an assortment of Santa Fe Railway logo memorabilia from the Santa Fe Railway Company that helped New Mexico to thrive when the rail yards were open, and is much like a tribute to the old Santa Fe Railway shops that existed from the 1880s to 1920s.
Guerrilla Graphix Santa Fe Railway souvenirs consist of ashtrays to aprons, t-shirts, and coffee mugs, and they provide a range of Breaking Bad and Zia symbol merchandise, which are sold at surprisingly decent prices, with shirts ranging from $10 to $20.
These are only a handful of vendors that the Albuquerque Rail Yards has showcased since the beginning of May, and will hopefully bring more events and revitalization of the Barelas neighborhood.
The rail yards had been closed to the public since the 1990s, and were once considered an eyesore to some people in the community, but then had its potential seen, once again, by the movie industry with many movies filmed there, such as Terminator, The Avengers and Transformers.
The city of Albuquerque bought the rail yards in 2007 for $2.8 million for renovating and repurposing the historical site, according cabq.gov.
This market is such an exciting idea because of the dedicated volunteers of this new and innovative marketplace, who have given the community a chance to see a bit of Albuquerque’s historical roots, while making a place that is giving a much needed boost to the local economy.
Overall the Albuquerque rail yards market is definitely worth enjoying a Sunday afternoon with family and friends.
The market adds somewhat of a hip new twist on the conventional flea market or swap meet, that provides a truly great vibe of what Albuquerque needed and was seemingly lacking up until now, which was a place to see what the local community is really all about now, and to revitalize and showcase one of the best parts of Albuquerque’s history.
For more information on the market, other events, or to volunteer at the rail yards, go to railyardsmarket.org.