Posts Tagged ‘pest’

The street fair fiasco

September 26th, 2010 by Chase Lindsay Rosen

According to Merriam Webster, ‘fair’ is defined as a gathering of stalls and amusements for public entertainment. New York City is known for is street fairs. And, with summer on its way out and fall on its way in, we are entering ultimate street fair season. This time around, things are changing.

Imagine this: Walking out of your apartment building, pushing past the drunk tourists hanging onto their foot long margaritas that have been loitering on your stoop all afternoon. Then, getting a big whiff of sizzling olive oil, sausage and peppers, opposed to some fresh air. You are forced by the patrolling police to wait for the light to change to run across the street. Once you cross the street, the faint sounds of Italian music, Motley Crue karaoke and carnival games that you thought you were dreaming about last night, really exist.

The vendors that you see from your bathroom window are displaying and selling all the things that you have smelled through your air conditioner unit for the past few days. They are selling the ‘best’ fried Oreos in the country, hand rolled Cuban cigars and homemade cheeses.

And don’t forget about the screaming kids saying “Mom please can I just have another $5 to try and win a goldfish!?!?” And just when you think you’ve escaped the madness, someone drops a piece of his or her blooming onion on your foot.

These notorious fair bring more than interesting aromas, oversized stuffed animals, herds of people and police officers. Street fairs cause traffic disruptions, loss of commerce in other parts of the city, heightened police costs for overtime, sanitation issues, noise complaints and terror threats.

Is the fresh fruit smoothie really worth it? Last year alone NYC held 321 street fairs, generating $1.6 million for the city… But, it cost $2.4 million in police overtime.

So why is NYC continuing to hold these massive street fairs and festivals? According to a report released by The Center for an Urban Future, the issue at hand is a lack of diversity. Once you’ve been to one street fair, you’ve seen them all. While the gyro and funnel cake always tastes better at Little Johnny’s Stand at San Gennaro’s it’s the same recipe being used by Mary’s Meats at the Murray Street Festival.

As of last year, Mayor Bloomberg established his stance on street fair culture. And though he claims that he “loves to go down and have one of those hot sausages like anyone else”, NYC street fairs are something that we can no longer afford.

New fairs can no longer apply for permits and Bloomberg is continuing to work on measures to shorten parade routes and limit the time frames in which events can be held. These fairs are becoming more of an annoyance than a reflection of the unique cultures within the melting pot of New York City.

They happen everywhere, every weekend, all over the city. For some, this is a past time and means of making a living. But for others, it’s the ultimate pest.