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.