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Street Fairs

drbelfer May 17, 2007 08:51 AM

NYC is know for its summer street fairs. Many offer a wide selection of foods to sample. Can anyone comment on the different fairs they have attended? Which ones have you enjoyed, which would you steer clear of?

  1. m
    marlie202 May 18, 2007 12:19 PM

    this past Saturday-2nd Avenue from 7th St. through 14th Street--
    the chicken satey with peanut sauce was rockin
    the watermelon juice was great
    gyrotechics intro-really good
    nice handmade jewelry

    1. j
      jth May 18, 2007 11:15 AM

      Most street fairs are as everyone has mentioned I usually do the Amsterdam Avenue Festival this weekend !- just to drink cheap beer over at Jakes Dilemma

      but you should look into this one into
      http://www.bigapplebbq.org/

      1. Woodside Al May 18, 2007 10:59 AM

        More on NYC street fairs, why they're so generic, and what might be done to change them (link opens pdf file):

        http://www.nycfuture.org/images_pdfs/...

        1. m
          Martypb7 May 18, 2007 10:43 AM

          I always enjoyed Bastille Day occurring around mid-July. This was a relatively small fair with good entertainment and a selection of vendors not generally found at the other street fairs. I don't see it on the list for this season. Maybe it will return next year.

          1. Woodside Al May 18, 2007 12:37 AM

            These things are basically big money-makers for the city itself, the neighborhood organizations who sponsor them, and especially the favored production companies who rent out just about every space at every one of these fairs to the same crowd of tired, bad, bland, over-priced food vendors and purveyors of cheap junky merchandise. They used to be better when they were actually run by the neighborhood and local business organizations, but now they are basically all contracted out. The city's requirement to purchase a 30 day "street fair vending permit" to set up a booth at one pretty much precludes participation by all but the professional vendors. They're a real racket and best avoided, except maybe for a quick walk-through to people watch.

            For a flavor of what these "fairs" are actually all about you should have a look at this website of the largest street fair production company:
            http://www.nycstreetfairs.com/

            1. p
              panoz May 17, 2007 07:07 PM

              There's one coming up in the financial district, Taste of Downtown http://www.downtownny.com/?sid=383

              1. bigjeff May 17, 2007 06:15 PM

                here's a schedule of this stuff. like most would say, generic, identical vendors, even 4 or 5 of the same vendor at one fair.

                http://www.nycstreetfairs.com/

                best to stick with some of the eating tours found on the site (jackson heights tour, flushing tour, greenpoint tour, etc.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: bigjeff
                  fsd1116 May 17, 2007 06:52 PM

                  If you're in town this weekend you might want to check out the 9th Ave Food Festival. It runs from about 38th St to 56th St on both Saturday and Sunday. It's one of the few fairs left with local/independent vendors.

                2. bobjbkln May 17, 2007 12:45 PM

                  Ask this question on the Outer Boroughs board for info on the Atlantic Antic; the very street fair-like food offerings at the Caribbean Labor Day Parade; and the every-weekend Red Hook Ball Fields.

                  In Manhattan, the 9th Ave. festival is the only one with any character at all.

                  1. lilnugget May 17, 2007 11:26 AM

                    manhattan street fairs are all the same as described above - basically all smaller variations of san gennaro (yuck). i did go to the atlantic antic in brooklyn last year and while it had the usual suspects, there were also lots of stalls from the restaurants in the area - including some very delicious ethnic treats.

                    (i hope i don't get reprimanded since this is the NYC board..!)

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lilnugget
                      karins May 17, 2007 11:28 AM

                      i think theres one this weekend on 9th avenue..is that any different?..they really talk about all of the different foods there...any thoughts?

                      1. re: karins
                        l
                        Lucia May 17, 2007 12:10 PM

                        Some of the local vendors are out (Poseidon Bakery, Mama's Empanadas, among others), but most of the stands are the standard street fair type.

                        1. re: karins
                          k
                          kathryn May 17, 2007 12:41 PM

                          There's a list here:
                          http://hellskitchen.bz/info/ninthaven...

                          1. re: karins
                            Miss Needle May 17, 2007 05:17 PM

                            I'm not a big fan of street fairs. However, I think the 9th Ave is decent as well as Taste of Chinatown. But you do have to search among the mozzarepas, bad Thai food and sausage stands for the good ones.

                        2. NAtiveNewYorker May 17, 2007 09:19 AM

                          Here's a first cut by stand:

                          Mozzareppa - looks great, but too bland for my taste, expensive
                          Fruit Juice - (as described)
                          Italian - great Italian sausages, variety of yummy fried foods under heat lamps (preferred, since freshly fried usually means too hot), but avoid the more complex dishes (beef, sweatbreads, etc.)
                          Asian Food - too greasy, sits in warming dishes with extra grease (to prevent dryness, I guess)
                          Grilled Corn- get the ones cooked IN the skin...otherwise it gets too charred
                          Gyro - the meat sits around too long, not as good as the lunch cart places
                          Crepes - for some reason, it's not that good (love the takeout ones in Paris, so I DO like the product)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                            e
                            ESNY May 17, 2007 09:22 AM

                            Pretty much the only food I ever get at a street fair is the hot italian sausage. Just be aware that if you don't pay attention you might get a burnt one since the sausages essentially sit on the grill all day.

                            1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
                              k
                              kathryn May 17, 2007 12:41 PM

                              Also: funnel cake and zeppoles.

                              And the Asian food is usually Thai, for some reason.

                            2. Tal May 17, 2007 08:54 AM

                              I think they are all the same. Except if you go to one that specifically markets something different- like that bar-b-que themed event... but the ones that you run into on broadway on every block, every weekend... same food, same vendors, same cd stand, same jewlery, same grilled corn on the cob *yum*

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Tal
                                l
                                lucybobo May 17, 2007 08:56 AM

                                ITA. Same same same. They need to diversify.

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