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Skillman Ave. Merchants Perplexed After Learning Skillman Fair Will Proceed

Past Street Fair (Photo: QueensPost)

April 11, 2013 By Christian Murray

Community Board 2 and members of the Sunnyside community were caught off guard yesterday when they discovered that the street fair on Skillman Avenue is now on.

Several merchants on Skillman Avenue received fliers yesterday distributed by the event coordinator notifying them that the fair is scheduled for Saturday, April 20. The flier asked them whether they wanted to participate in the festival, held between 43rd and 48th Streets.

The event is being held by the Sunnyside Kiwanis Club and is being run by Clearview Festival Productions.

The fliers caught the business owners by surprise, since Community Board 2 advised the city to deny the permit after an outcry from residents and the public. A litany of business owners and nearby residents have expressed their dislike of the fair—citing noise, smells, parking problems and litter.

Gerald Lederman, the treasurer of the Sunnyside Kiwanis Club, confirmed that the fair is on and said that Community Board 2’s decision was appealed to New York City’s Street Activities Permit Office. The permit office overturned Community Board 2’s decision.

Members of the community board, however, said that they were caught by surprise.

Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said in an e-mail that he was not notified of the appeal. Furthermore, he said the city’s permit office did not reach out to community board to gets its feedback prior to overturning its decision.

Conley said he is following up with the city’s permit office for an explanation.

But Lederman disagrees with Conley’s account. He said that he told Conley about the appeal at the Sunnyside Shines (BID) annual meeting held on March 21—and that the Kiwanis Club has been very transparent about it.

Several community members are calling for the fair to be stopped. Dorothy Morehead, a local realtor and Community Board 2 member, said “the noise and smells are intolerable” and her “potential clients… are unable to park.”

Her views were echoed by many other merchants, who did not want to be named.

Lederman, however, argues that that the fair is important to the organization—since a significant portion of the festival’s profits go to the Kiwanis.

The Kiwanis, he said, uses the fund to help underprivileged children and other needs that all go back to the community.

“I understand there is disruption, but it is not exactly constant,” he said. “There are only two fairs a year on Skillman…it’s not like being next to a construction site.”

Lederman said that the group’s appeal was based on two central arguments. The first was that the profits were going to a charitable organization—and second, that it had tried to accommodate the community board’s wishes in the past, when it moved its festival from Greenpoint Ave (where it had been for 20 years) to Skillman Avenue.

Skillman Fair 2013-1 Copy by Sunnyside Post

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Oh Oppressed Masses enough already your one trick pony sideshow is Old and stale go on to something new we have won the right to have the Dog park now go crawl back into your Mommy’s basement you Troll.

Dorothy Morehead

All community board meetings, including the committee meetings, are open to the public and CB2 has a website. The objective is to be as inclusive as possible. Anyone can speak at the board meetings and every year hundreds speak at the meetings (and write or email) to bring conditions of concern to them to the attention of the board. NYC is a complaint-driven bureaucracy of 8 million people. For many, it is their first and only contact with that bureaucracy (except for taxes, of course). The mission of the Board is to help the communities it serves, in the case of CB2, Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and western Maspeth. As a 20-year member of the board, 19 of them serving as chair of the Environmental Committee, I can assure you that we are frustrated when the City, SLA, or other governmental agencies are unresponsive. But we will keep trying and will take pride in any accomplishments, despite the brickbats of those who choose to watch and complain from the sidelines.

Oppressed Masses

This article demonstrates yet again that the Community Planning Board process is a farce. The Board makes a recommendation on a matter that affects many people in Sunnyside, but is ignored and left completely in the dark by the City agency. Few if any know what the CPB is up to and learn of its actions only well after votes taken. The only people who benefit are extremely self-interested individuals who are friends of local politicians and who use the Planning Board to get public monies for things like a dog park.


Its only two or three days out of the entire year for this? It doesn’t seem that big of an imposition . . . and who doesn’t like to treat themselves to a funnel cake at least once or twice a year??

And it allegedly raises money for a local charitable cause and may even bring new customers to the local shops by those walking through the fair (not finding anything there they like, but seeing nice things in store windows).

How many people/businesses live next to construction all- or most- of the time? – The people on 43rd St. next to the new school being built I’m sure are exposed to a lot of construction, but I don’t hear them complaining so much about the noise . . .

You’re in NYC – seriously, deal . . . .


@ frank -Actually, I’m glad that it’s back on just because it upsets the snobs. You don’t like it, go back to Park Slope!

I don’t come from Park Slope. I’ve lived here for 40 years. I’m a taxpayer, not a snob.

I want to know how much a for-profit company, Clearwater, makes from running the Skillman Ave fair, and how much they keep, and how much they give to community groups.

It’s a big secret. If the City gives away the use of Skillman Ave. and provides all sorts of services (police, sanitation) for free to a for-profit company, I want to know the real benefit.

There may be a benefit. If there is, why not reveal it? I’m waiting.

Dorothy Morehead

Let’s see…no bullhorns, no noise, no generator fumes, no street closures, no cost to anyone participating, shorter hours. And while people can sell whatever they wish, I doubt it will be junk. Check it out–I think you’ll be happily surprised.


How is having a mass junk sale on the streets any classier than one of these fairs?


A neighborhood community service group wishes to hold an event that children like in order to raise money to continue serving the community. I think I would embrace this event, even though it comes with generator noise and sausage fumes, if I had a business on Skillman. But then again, I’m not trying to rebrand the neighborhood to pad my pockets.


These things do suck but it’s not as bad as on Broadway/Steinway when you’ve got an obstacle course of 100 running children weilding mayonaise laden corn cobs in 97 degree heat.

Now that’s some sht.


What a bunch of snobs people are around here can be. It’s just a fair for a day. I think it’s stupid too, but it’s not a big deal. Actually, I’m glad that it’s back on just because it upsets the snobs. You don’t like it, go back to Park Slope!

Annie D

Who doesn’t love the smell of funnel cake?!?

(seriously, it’s awesome…I want to eat some right now)

Dorothy Morehead

my post appeared as from Anonymous. I didn’t notice that my name didn’t appear.


It’s not just the noise and smell and lack of parking–those were the comments used for the post.

I can work from my home on 46th Street (where I’ve lived since 1968–I’m far from a newbie) but other businesses and the residents are stuck with: bullhorns at 6:30 on a Saturday morning ordering people to move their cars, police trucks towing cars from 7 to 10, noise from generators and music vendors all day, exhaust from the generators and food odors all day, litter dropped or blown onto their property, large bags of garbage after the event, no access to their property for deliveries (especially difficult for the restaurants). It’s one thing to walk through and quite another to have to endure it for more than 12 hours. And all this with no notice to residents. The businesses between mid-block 45th St and 47th St. were given the notices yesterday for an event in 9 days. We can use 10′ in front of our properties to sell whatever is sold inside. We cannot give or sell the space to anyone else. Thanks but no thanks.

Susan, the street fairs prior to Clearwater were entirely different. No bullhorns, no generators, an on-site manager to handle complaints, plenty of notice to property owners with free space to them and to non-profits and the court associations, live entertainment.

Thomster, I don’t set rental prices–the property owners do. Enjoy your sausage and peppers. I won’t be there to see or smell you.

Let's be honest

I agree with Pomme.
The organizers of the events have never given a breakdown as to who gets what from the fairs.

We don’t know whether Clearview gets 80% of the profits and Kiwanis 20%. We need to know

Someone needs to find this out….then we will be in a better position to be able to judge.


Why don’t the Garden crowd just move their yard sale to coincide on the same day? Then they won’t have to deal with the fair AND we’ll see which crap the neighborhood prefers? Mass produced or locally sourced.

Everybody wins.


This is not a community fair. It is run by a for-profit company who runs these look-a-like fairs all over the city. They get the use of city streets, police, sanitation crews, and pay NOTHING for it. TAXPAYERS are footing the bill for all of this.

Mr Lederman, of the Kiwanis, says the organization uses the proceeds to help ‘underprivileged children’ and that they ‘go back to the community’.

There is NO PUBLIC ACCOUNTING of funds raised, the profit for Clearview, or even what goes to the Kiwanis.

For the past two years, community groups have called for full disclosure and transparency about the financial details of the cost to the city and the profits to Clearview, and even what cut the Kiwanis gets. NO RESPONSE.

SOMETHING SMELLS. If you are going to use city streets and personnel,
Clearview and the Kiwanis, how about an accounting?


Hey Dorothy any chance of a reasonably priced one bedroom apartment in Sunnyside where i’ve been living for 14 years without having to pay a huge fee ? didnt think so. Cant wait to eat my foul smelling food outside of your … business on the day of the fair.
Bring on the fair!


Here Here Yankette!…….I like the street fairs and look forward to them, its part of spring/summer in the neighborhood. If the quality of merchandise leaves a lot to be desired then maybe the organisers can do something about that. It’s nice to stroll down skillman ave at a your own pace. The food is typical for these events, hotdogs, sausage and pepper heros etc so what. Dont eat them if you dont like them. The noise and smell comments get a life! The kids seem to like it and it adds to the ambience of the neighborhood. Some stuff is cheap shit but you can also find cool objects.

Agree with Yankette

All this talk about parking. If you’re so dependent on a car, you shouldn’t be living in Sunnyside. Live in the suburbs then. It’s not an ideal street fair–it’s a lot of crap merchandise and bad food–but IF it’s really profitable for Kiwanis then I can’t object too much. Or, gee, maybe the local merchants can get together and figure out a way to help the club raise an equal amount of money? That might be a better use of time and energy.


Its for a few hours! noise & smell intolerable….PLEASE! I guess it is not to the newbies likings – get over it! This neighborhood has been holding this for years before most of you could find Sunnyside on a map!


Oh give me a break! “The noise and smell is intolerable?” Get off your high horse honey, it’s for one day! This is good for the community.


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