- 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?
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*
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)
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..!)
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.
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:
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.
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