Sept. 2, 2012 By Bill Parry
Hundreds turned out for the Skillman Avenue Street Fair on Saturday afternoon.
Vendors stretched from 44th St. to 48th St. selling items like cookware, hats & T-shirts, jewelry, artwork, cell-phone covers and even house plants. For the kids there was an array of bounce houses and for adults there was acupressure massage available: $10 for ten minutes, up to an hour for $50.
With so many stalls and people cruising Skillman Ave., the fair looked like a great success. However, many vendors said otherwise.
Debendra Limbu, who sold items such as sunglasses to hats, said his sales were so slow that he barely made up for the fee he paid to set up his stall. “Not really too much business,” he said. “Lots of people, but nobody’s buying. Everywhere it’s bad, not just here. I guess it’s still a down economy.”
A Sunnyside resident named Dominick working at the Italian Sausage stand agreed, “I’ve been doing this for nearly twenty years and I’ve never seen it this bad. This is horrible.”
Dominick went on to compare the Skillman Street Fair to those on Greenpoint Avenue. “Greenpoint fairs are normally better: more people and they spend money. I also think it’s bad timing. Labor Day weekend, the folks with money go out of town.”
The fair didn’t seem to help local bars and restaurants either, according to Tim Chen, the owner of Quaint. “Most of the people that come to street fairs stay at the street fair,” Chen said. Meanwhile, Claret Wine Bar was quiet, and only a few fair-goers took advantage of the beer garden at Flynn’s.
However, the event was a success at one stall: The recruiters for the Nassau County Police Department. “We’ve been busy all day,” said a smiling Officer Haynes, “We have an exam on Oct. 12th and plenty of people are taking our information pamphlets.” With starting salaries of $34,000 highlighted on the brochures, they’ve clearly got something worth selling.
Street fairs in NYC are a complete embarassment. I’ve tried to go to a few that were “theme” street fairs (ethnic group, holiday, etc.) and it is the same crap at every single street fair. Try going to a Bastille Day street fair and find your only options are grilled sausages and Mexican corn on a stick. Tres francais! It’s gotten to the point where I dread having to walk anywhere near those disaster areas and the massive amount of grill smoke floating around a two block radius. Just get rid of the whole idea or put it back into the hands of the community, not some corporation who is in the business of basically renting vending space to the same sort of vendors at every fair.
Community Board 2 – what do they do all day anyway?
Nothing gets by you 108!
Ah yes, the Sunnyside Street Fair! As if Satan himself descended onto our streets with his ilk and brought Italian Sausage and a smoking grill. These street fair are beyond bad, even Jimmy Van Bremer didn’t show up to get his pic taken. That tells you somethings not right! The man has never missed a camera.
Please tell me what the purpose of United 40s organization is? Is it just a closed social club whose membership seems to be grandfathered in? All they seem to do is to present awards to their rotating membership along with photos to show in the local newspaper.
In addition to bringing your complaints to United 40s, people should complain AGAIN to the Community Board. People went and spoke against the non-community, for profit street fairs organized by Clearview. The Chair of CB 2, Joseph Conley, was extremely unresponsive and wanted a ‘petition’. Perhaps he should read these comments. He did not respond to a request that the financial report of the street fair be made public–how much is Clearview getting, how much goes to a community group? How much does it cost for NYC city to provide all the towing, cleanup, police, etc?
It could easily be the case that NYC taxpayers spend MORE to pay for these services than goes to a non-profit community group. The only one making any money is Cleaview.
If so, the city can give the money directly to the community groups, leave Clearview out of it, and spare us all the noise, litter, inconvenience, socks and sausages.
Please, a moratorium on street fairs for a while!
The street fair on Skillman is the exact same one they have on Greenpoint ave, the exact same one they have on 30th Ave in Astoria and a dozen other places.
I’d rather go to Saint Genarro in Little Italy. It’s tacky, loud and crowded but at least it has some character of its own.
ok look I went and the food was bad $20.00 for two Italian Sausage at first it looked good but the buns where hard and no band??? you need live music come on people when you try to sell something don’t try to rip us off that’s why this year sucked ,when you get that right you will do better next year .. I’m from California moved here July 1 and love sunnyside so hope you get it together this is New York right ?????
I think of all the above people and their family’s and friends should go to the united 40s meeting next Thursday nite at 7pm at st Theresa’s auditorium. Let’s stand together and let our voices be heard about what WE want in our neigherhood . More people need to get involved and air their opinions. Of the 33 comments I’ve seen here about the street fairs I don’t recall one positive comment. Stand up and b heard. See u all (hopefully) next Thursday nite 🙂
I suspect that the city deliberately makes these sort of street fairs as expensive and complicated as possible when independent neighborhood groups decide to hold them, thus clearing the way for the better connected, corporate versions.
A very talented member of Sunnyside Park put on the craft fair for the last few years. The current board drove her out. Won’t see anything like it again, I guess.
CHicago has the best model for street fairs (although I admit I have no idea of the fees, insurance, etc.) They have various stages with bands playing all day and local vendors. So much fun.
I think Labor Day weekend was a horrible time for this, there were many empty spots where vendors usually are so even some of them stayed away. The Greenpoint fest usually has more vendors like newspapers, radio stations, etc.
I like to Craic Dealer…lets close the street to traffic on a saturday or a sunday and let the cars park but no traffic… and bring out the restaurants and the banks and tables and chairs and lets dance and sing and party and get some vendors and ights for day and eveing out on skillman and get some baseball players and foot ball players to have a clinic in the park during the day for the kids and a puppet show for the kids in the afrternon or a magizcian for the oder kids…that would unite our town and spend mney like for a may or june evening before vacation come or octorber fest after back to school when we are all home…. and of course we need media a full alert to all of them… several weeks in advance…like to post said no notce no sales no business…….I lilke my idea I have had it for years… we need more than vendors we need entertaiment and specal guests to draw people here and ivite from maspeth and astorea and jackson heights and bus tours and free parking under the 7 train for our dan and evening on skillman ave…. horray for us!!!!!!
Check out Alive After 5. This is held out on LI where instead of these random vendors have food the actual bar/restaurants extend themselves into the street. I’ve been to one and its actually fun
The days of the street fairs are and should b over. The streets are closed off and people can’t park their cars close to establishments that they would normally frequent on a regular sat nite. The vendors are not from the local area and give nothing back to the community. The people attending them just walk into the closest bar to use the bathroom without acknowledging the bartender. The blaring music s enough to give anyone a headache. Why do the bars and restaurants not advertise the street fairs??? Because they dont want the street fairs. All they do s disrupt business . Bye bye street fairs ( hopefully)
@Full Metal Blogger: hahaha right? You should look at the sales of the local organic food market compared to this street fair. The north doesn’t want to eat garbage.
“Sales were weak.” The PRODUCT was weak. Closers drink coffee, bitchezzzzzz
I guess this just shows that the south side is better…again!
These fairs are pretty awful – and that includes the ones in Manhattan.
For more than ten years, ending in 2006, I organized the Skillman Avenue Festivals as president of the Sunnyside Foundation. (Before that I participated with my court association as a vendor.) After two disastrous years when the Foundation lost money due to bad weather and the requirements of the City, I called it quits. NYC requires $1,000,000 of insurance coverage, 20% of the receipts from vendors and a deposit for the Dept. of Sanitation to assure that the street is left clean. More than once I was sweeping Skillman at 7:30, dodging cars because the NYPD removed the barriers on 48th Street promptly at 7:00. The various court associations used the event to raise money to maintain the lovely central courts. They did not pay for their spaces. Nor did property or business owners on Skillman Avenue or non-profits. We usually had live entertainment–singers, musicians, dancers, capoeira. The organizer now is Clearview and Sunnyside Posters are correct–they have the same vendors at almost all of their street fairs. I would be happy to assist a neighborhood group organize a street fair on Skillman Avenue but no longer wish to take the lead.
Should of put that Yogagyro chick there with her wooden medieval torture devices to stretch limbs for a few bucks!
The NYC street fair is a roving generic group of vendors. Nothing unique. A local flea market / swap / garage sale would be way more interesting. At least you’d get to interact with neighbors.
Ruben…it was a joke. Yes i know poor people spend more money. This is commonsense.
O’shea…fact…poor people spend more money. This is economics.
I attended a craft fair last year at Sunnyside Gardens Park. It was all unique items and everyone was a local (from Sunnyside, surrounding Queens neighborhoods, Brooklyn, and Manhattan). Can we as a community put something like that together for a street fair? Feature our own businesses selling food, drink, clothes, etc. And give a spotlight to our hometown artists?
Perhaps the new employee of Sunnyside BID can take on this project. Or Van Bramer’s office can form a committee of community volunteers to do so.
Did not know “poor” people spent their money at greenpoint. Ah …the smart sophisticates of sunnyside they think they are better than the faux trinkets, fried cupcakes, and tube sock fairs. Yet every year we see the same vendors and crowd. There is a disconnect here 🙂
What about a book store? Seriously, these generic street fairs are terrible.
The only local vendor I saw at the street fair was Petunia, the children’s clothing shop on Skillman. However, I doubt she did much business as her location was smoked out by cooking fumes all day and the blaring music of latin dance CDs.
These street fairs are identical wherever they are held. If I come across one fine, but I sure won’t go out of my way.
It looked very empty most of the day. No surprise, the same stuff you could buy in any store in the neighborhood anytime.
Why disrupt all of Skillman Avenue for an entire day for this? What is the point?
dear bliss & skillman the promoter of the festivals are called “Clearview Festival Productions” everything is on the internet for you to see, events, etc.
Sunnyside is sorta like Berlin when divided into Eastern and Western zones. With Queens Boulevard as “the wall,” there’s North Sunnyside and South Southside. I live in the South, and very rarely cross over except to businesses on QB itself. Everything I need is in South Sunnyside, including a post office and public library. So strolling way over to Skillman Avenue for a street fair that will probably have the same vendors as the the last street fair on the south side on Greenpoint Avenue holds no appeal for me whatsoever.
They need to take a cue from Florida festival promoters. Only allow 10% of the vendors to have commercial resale merchandise and only 10% of the vendors to be jewelry booths.
Does anyone know who the promoter of this festival was?
Yes Christian, the marketing development for the fair is not even fair to say the least. As a marketing director I find it unheard of and frankly not logically Planned. No signs in laundry establishments. No signs in bars or grocery stores. Clearly, not well thought out. And so it goes…
well if anyone is interested the Woodside Festival Street Fair is September 8, 2012 (Saturday) I think it starts at 11:00 a.m. Come one come all — have a great weekend and be safe.
The issue isn’t the economy, the issue is intelligence. People are smart enough to not buy overpriced crap food and trinkets. Maybe Greenpoint makes more money because poor people love to spend money on junk but the smart people know how to spend their money. We look for deals and that fair had NO deals.
Long Time Resident,
The site was not alerted to the fair until Friday. None of the media outlets in the area listed the event.
Well, I had no idea the fair was happening. I looked at my rss feed on Friday and today. Obviously the post about it occurring the next day hadn’t gone up yet. I don’t know if it’s because whoever is promoting the fair waits until the last minute to distribute information, or if whoever runs the site thinks one day is enough time for regular visitors to the blog to see things (it’s not).
Either way, the other commenters are right. Street fairs are all carbon copies. I like the ones sponsored by the church. (All Saints?)
No shit. $15 for a sausage sandwich? Junk sweatshop vinyl purses? Plastic bracelets?
I have to agree with “nobody” here that the lack of anything unique or fun to draw a crowd was sorely lacking here on Skillman Avenue. Perhaps they should learn from the street fairs from the days before the generic socks stands. The day when people had brick-a-brack tables and house wears and records and items of interest used to be the draw. Like a Flee Market. I walked through this fair out of obligation yesterday expecting the same old same and was not disappointed. Perhaps the event organizers. We’d to rethink their strategy and marketing of this fair or surely we will see it go the way of the 5 & Dime. And So it Goes…
Maybe we just don’t have enough white trash in our neighborhood to drive sales up. There is barely ANYTHING in these street fairs. There is time they disappear. They pollute, sell unhealthy crap and cheap low quality stuff.
not surprising. the fair had all the generic stands you see at any neighborhood street fair in NYC selling crappy trinkets, italian sausage, zeppolis, funnel cakes, etc.
maybe this fair was simply missing a few thai food stands, pharmacies, irish pubs, bank branches, 99 cent stores, nail salons, and failing grocery stores with expired food. that seems much more appealing to the sunnyside/woodside crowd, eh?