Originally Published July 19, 2008 on New2NYC.org
New York in the summertime brings to mind lots of different things - Shakespeare in the Park, Monday Night Movies in Bryant Park, and Fourth of July Fireworks on the East River. Then, of course, there’s the downside – humidity, funky smells, and subway platforms that make the Everglades feel like an arctic escape. Let’s face it, New Yorkers have a grin and bare it mentality that allows them to get through anything…including 100 degrees in the shade. One of the things that makes the city so bearable from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is the weekend street fairs that fill the streets with everything possible, from bargains to keepsakes.
During the warm months of the year, Mardi Gras Festival Productions hosts weekend street fairs throughout the city. Every Saturday and Sunday, you’ll stumble onto one…they close down a few city blocks and put everything you can imagine on it, with plenty of places to get food and drinks. These street fairs are the perfect blend of a craft fair, a bargain basement, and a memorabilia finder…at great prices (and haggling is considered a right of passage).
At the street fairs, each booth has a different product, and you’ll never know what you may find there. Some booths are staples at every fair, so don’t worry. The sock stand is a blessing. Go here to replace the white socks that seem to get lost in the twilight zone that is your washing machine. Instead of puzzling over the mystery of how you loose one sock EVERYTIME, just head to the fair and pick up a bundle of new ones for cheap.
Clothing is always available, with hordes of different t-shirts designs from Che Guevara’s face plastered on Fruit of the Looms, to “I’m With Stupid” or “My Girlfriend’s a Lesbian” to Batman and Spiderman t-shirts. There are booths with baby cloths (think onesies with lots of “witty” phrases), tie dyed clothes, flow-y summer dresses, hats, gloves, scarves, and pants – you name it.
The street fairs are the place to go for inexpensive bedding, as well. Check the thread counts (of course) but they have lots of colors and all sizes from single to California King. However, if you have an apartment with room for a California King bed, you may not need to save on linens!
If you forgot to wear sunglasses to the street fair, don’t worry, there are plenty of booths to pick out styles. You can get some glamour on and keep from developing those pesty crows feet from too much squinting. Spend $10 now and avoid the costly Botox injections later!
Are you looking to decorate your new apartment? Street fairs have tons of options. A best bet is the reproductions of tin advertisements like the Rosie The Riveter “We Can Do It!” sign from World War II. They have lots of pre-framed photographs, paintings, and sculptures to give your place some individuality. If you’re looking to create the right “mood,” you’ll always find booths that sell scented candles and incense.
In the personal adornment category, street fairs always offer a large section of jewelry and hair accessories.
So, now your thinking – how do I find these randomly placed street fairs? Well, the good people at Mardi Gras Festival Productions have a website, which includes a weekly schedule of fair locations through November. Just check out www.nycstreetfairs.com to find the one nearest you.