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Two Residents Criticize Skillman Ave. Street Fair at CB2 Meeting

Past Street Fair (Photo: QueensPost)

May 3, 2012 By Christian Murray

Two local women complained at the Community Board 2 meeting Thursday night that the Skillman Ave. Street Fair held April 21 inconvenienced residents and hurt nearby businesses.

“Cars were towed, we had trouble getting access to our homes and there were no-parking signs everywhere,” said Carole Vance, a nearby resident.  She said police barricades were up for most of Saturday and then on Sunday, sanitation trucks took to the streets to clean up afterward. After the meeting she said it was not as though residents got any great benefit: “you can buy socks anywhere.”

Meanwhile, Rita Lowry, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate on Skillman Ave, said her business was disrupted by the fair. She said a large truck was parked outside her office with a loud generator used to power a children’s game.  Her agents, she said, struggled to hear their clients on the phone.

Additionally, Lowry said, the food stands hurt business for local restaurants.

Vance wanted to know who the beneficiaries of the street fair were. The fair was put on by the for-profit company Clearview Festival Productions and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside. Neither group had representatives at the meeting.

Given the inconvenience, “we need to know who is profiting,” Vance said. While the profit is split between Clearview and the Kiwanis (and other non-profits), she said she wanted to know who got what.

Joe Conley, the chairman of Community Board 2, said he wanted to know more about their complaints and recommended that they put a petition together if they believed there was a lot of support to move the street fair elsewhere. Both women said after the board meeting that they would get a petition going.

Meanwhile, Jim Condes, a Woodside resident, complained that city officials had announced the construction of a new school on 39th Avenue (between 57th and 58th Streets) in February without providing the community any notice.

Condes said that the School Construction Authority had already bought the lot, yet nearby residents didn’t get a chance to voice their concerns about noise, traffic issues and general safety.

“It’s a done deal and we got no input,” Condes said. He added that city officials have already said that the tentative date of completion is September 2015.

Conley said that the plans are in the preliminary process and that the Community Board knew little about it until it was presented at last month’s Land Use Committee meeting.

A spokeswoman for the Queens Library system informed the community that the mayor plans to cut the Queens library budget by $27 million.  She said if the budget cuts go into effect, the Sunnyside and Woodside branches most likely would be open just two or three days a week. Currently, the Sunnyside branch is open six days, while the Woodside branch is open 5 days per week.

She urged residents to go to and sign the petition.

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Sara vallejo

Our kids need more the library than the neighborhood needs a dug run, we have the park in 52st and the neighborhood is quiet enough to stroll around. The library is a key point for all of our kids , specially in the winter. People may think it isn’t because “books are out if style , now we have nook or iPad” , well there isn’t a thing that will replace a library and it’s benefits for our community.


On the rather off-topic discussion of the dog run, my understanding of the $500K is that it’s to revamp the whole park, not just build a dog run (which is something this neighborhood definitely needs). At least I hope that’s the case, since I haven’t heard any more details than that.

Apart from the lack of any real dog run, my only big complaint about this neighborhood is the lack of parks with grass. The closest thing we have is Doughboy Park, which is a hike for a lot of us, and even that big hill is mostly brown crabgrass and dirt.

If it was up to me, the entire paved area of the park on Skillman and 43rd would be covered with grass, apart from the dog run. You could still have volleyball and soccer there, and there are already places to play basketball on 42nd and Greenpoint, as well as literally around the corner behind the school on 41st. The one thing we really lack is greenery, and a comfortable place for people to lay out, have picnics, or whatever. And that park is a big open sunny area that would be perfect for it.


Most of these complaints about the street fair are silly. People can handle one day of tougher parking or the sound of a generator outside in exchange for something fun for the kids, as well as just a different experience from the every day for the adults.

As others have mentioned above, the bigger problem with the fairs is how generic they are. Anywhere you go in the city, you basically know the “local” street fair is going to have a sock booth, a DJ/techno booth, and an arepa cart on every second block. That’s the problem you get when you hire the same company everyone else does to organize the thing.

A better idea would be to do something similar to “Taste of Tribeca.” Instead of hiring a bunch of arepa and funnel cake trucks, sell all the booths to local restaurants. Each one sells 2-3 small portions of things that are actually on their menus for a $3-$5, which not only lets them make money that day, but can also drum up business for the future. Same goes for a lot of the boutique shops in the area that people often pass by or just don’t see because they never happen to walk down that particular block.

Even better, something like that would be a draw for people who don’t live in the neighborhood, which is something you’ll never get with a generic street fair which everyone knows will be exactly like the fair that Astoria or Greenpoint will have in 2 weeks.


Sooooo, these 2 ladies just want to end a fair that has been occuring for ages on skillman ave ? As sumone mentioned, yea the fair may of been not worth attending, but there are alot of children who appreciate it , amongst other ages.

Its to early to be a scrooge… Summer didnt even start yet.


i agree with southie and find it the limiting of library hours upsetting, it was also just squeezed in at the end of article as a, “oh and by the way”

The King Of Queens

I have a dog and would love a dog run for her to exercise in! we have plenty of places for adults and children to exericse WHY NOT a dog run for our four legged friends.


Oppressed Masses

I have to disagree with you – a dog run is desperately needed in our neighborhood.


There are so many people with dogs in this neighborhood, I don’t see how a dog run is a “silly project.” And I am not a dog owner, I love the libraries, but I don’t see what the dog run funding has to do with the library. You could just as easily complain about filling potholes or hiring police officers or working on the 7 train or anything else that costs money.

As for the street fair, I was hoping their complaints were about how generic and boring the street fair was. Yes, generators are loud and annoying and the street is closed for a few hours. Who cares, if the fair is actually worth attending. But it wasn’t. Anyway, I agree with the first comment – most people probably didn’t care one way or the other, and more people probably liked it than not. I like that there’s an annual street fair, but it needs much improvement.

Just Looking

I have complete sympathy with Mr. Condes regarding new construction. The city, which in my mind is hand in hand with builders and developers, does everything behind closed doors then tells residents it is too late for their input. Too late to comment on a project that will change your quality of life so much you want to move? What arrogance the powerful have. What slick manipulators and disingenuous “servants” of the public. It may be expedient for them to keep such projects under wraps, but the injustice they do to those affected will catch up with them eventually.


I have always been moved by the number of children and families I see in the library. I think it is terrible that the library system could be hurt so deeply by more budget cuts. This will impact many, many people and it seems strange to me that this information was buried at the end of an article titled “Two residents criticize Skillman Ave. Street Fair at CB2 meeting”.

Oppressed Masses

All this news about cuts in services like the Library again raises a question about why $500,000 is being spent to put a dog run in the park on 43rd Street and Skillman Ave (proponents have claimed the dog run will not cost $500,000 but no one has revealed solid cost information for the dog run). Recognizing that half a million dollars won’t do much to keep the libraries open, I’m guessing there are a number of other silly projects that will benefit a few people that can be shelved so that the monies can be used to benefit most people.


I am guessing there were 100 people who liked the street fair, 1000 that didn’t care, and 2 that complained. So the headline is about the 2 people that complained?

About the school construction, I don’t have enough info to comment right now.

About the library – I use the library all the time, but I just get books from there – I don’t spend time in the physical building, so I personally don’t care if it’s not open as much, but I am guessing other residents might. Whether this is the right decision or not depends on why the $26.7 mil is getting cut (and what other things *aren’t* getting cut).


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