simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Bazaar
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Friday, 6 April 2007


This is the typical NYC street fair. To the uninitiated, it looks like fun. However, after doing a few of them, they are very boring. The problem is that you see the same vendors at virtually every fair and most of them of little interest - socks, gyros, small tools, bedding, Peruvian sweaters, imported crafts,CDs, smoothies, T-Shirts, etc. The residents I know mostly ignore them - perhaps getting an occasional snack. A recent research group put it perfectly: "the fairs had lost all sense of novelty, catered too heavily to out-of-town vendors and failed to showcase the work of entrepreneurs and artists based in the five boroughs. ... The worst part is that they are uniformly bland.'' There were 367 permits issued in 2006. Over half the fairs are organized by a few companies with many of the vendors from out of town. 20 vendors held 46% of the food permits. So, unfortunately the fairs do not draw vendors from the enormous pool of creative, interesting and varied local businesses and talent - a real shame, because these fairs could be awesome. I must say however, that street fairs like this with their bazaar like atmosphere are relatively uncommon in this country, so in principal I think the concept is welcome. Street life is one of the most fascinating aspects of New York and what distinguishes it from other places. If you are willing to ply, wade and dig, some useful items can be found. Efforts are being made to changes rules which would encourage more local participation ...


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