Reading Terminal Market still has the magic despite pandemic distruptions

The Reading Terminal Market has been a staple in Philadelphia for more than 100 years. But, even it’s not immune from the year 2020. While times are tough, the iconic market is still a go-to for many people during the pandemic.

Some of the best food in the region is there and people do come from everywhere. It is the heart of Philly.

Billy was in line at Deiner’s BBQ Chicken. He’s grabbing wings and it doesn’t matter which a person chooses. Billy says they are all winners.

"Garlic wings, they have the oven rotisserie wings. They got the BBQ wings. You name the wings, they got it," Billy stated.

Safety first – Billy says he’ll take those wings home to eat watching Netflix. Which is a shame, he admits, because in normal times, lunch at the market’s about so much more than just food.

"Everything here is good. But, you run into people you haven’t seen in a while. It’s like an unexpected meeting place. You run into people you haven’t seen in a long time and then you meet new friends in here," Billy explained.

That’s the magic. More than a century old, Reading Terminal Market is one of the oldest and largest public markets in the country. Philly shoppers call it the best and it’s provable.

No question the numbers are down. They are everywhere. Commuter traffic that feeds market stalls is down to a trickle, but it is the holidays.

"Everybody wants Bassetts Ice Cream on the holidays,"" said Jennifer.

Jennifer at Bassetts isn’t sweating this week. The stand gets busier at different times now than before COVID. Across the counter, customers worry about the market during the pandemic, concerns she dismisses, as the market is too important.

"It means a lot, it has a lot of history towards it. A lot of people have a lot of great memories here. So, I don’t think anything’s ever going to happen to the market," Jennifer explained.

"It could be better. But, we’re grateful and we’re blessed," Tanja Dixon stated.

Amazulu Boutique – like the market – is "where cultures meet." Manager Tanja Dixon says smaller crowds can be a selling point for a cautious clientele.

"That’s how I got my mom down here. Really! I mean, I gave her a good day to come down and she was able to come down and shop and she felt comfortable. And, she was like, ‘Oh ok, I’ll be back,’" Dixon commented.


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