Open-Air Fare: Food Markets, Fairs and Events in NYC
by nycgo.com staff, 05/22/2012
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Seasonal Markets and Events
Saturday–Sunday, 10am–5pm, through November
Brooklyn Flea began in April 2008 as a large outdoor vintage and locally made–crafts bazaar in a school playground in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It has always had a strong food component, with vendors ready to sell you lunch while you shop or NYC-based purveyors of artisanal edibles for you to take home (salsa, mayonnaise, pickles, vegan "faux gras.")
The Flea has since expanded to two Brooklyn locations, plus a special food-only market in Williamsburg called Smorgasburg. New this year is the recently launched SmorgasBrewery, which features three or four regular Flea food vendors selling edibles to go along with the suds on offer in Brooklyn Brewery's tasting room.
Fort Greene Flea
Saturdays, 10am–5pm, through November
176 Lafayette St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn
The flagship and original Brooklyn Flea takes place outdoors in the school yard of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School. It's easily accessible by 11 subway lines and five bus routes.
Sundays, 10am–5pm, through November
27 N. 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The Williamsburg Flea offers the same panoply of food, crafts and secondhand goods as the Fort Greene Flea—with a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline.
Saturdays, 11am–6pm, through November
27 N. 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
In the same location as the Williamsburg Flea, Smorgasburg rounds up 75 to 100 vendors from NYC and the surrounding region, who sell prepared and packaged foods, utensils and housewares. Accessible by the East River Ferry, subway and bus.
Brooklyn Brewery, 79 N. 11th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Hosted by Brooklyn Brewery, SmorgasBrewery brings in a rotating weekly lineup of three or four prepared-food vendors from Brooklyn Flea or Smorgasburg who sell meals or snacks to go with the libations in the brewery's beer-tasting room. Check brooklynflea.com for this week's vendors.
Sunday–Thursday, 8am–6pm; Friday–Saturday, 8am–8pm
138 Willoughby St., Downtown Brooklyn
Located inside Downtown Brooklyn's Fulton Mall pedestrian shopping plaza, this summerlong daily market features sustainability-conscious vendors working out of salvaged shipping containers, including retailers like beloved women's clothing shop Harriet's Alter Ego, cupcake innovators Robicelli's Cupcakes and rice ball purveyors Arancini Bros. Easily accessible by six subway lines.
New York City's Greenmarket system comprises 53 farmers' markets throughout the five boroughs, many of which are open year-round. These urban stalls offer the simple goodness of whole fresh foods as well as prepared artisanal products like wasabi pickles, flavored bitters and homemade chutneys. And locavores can rest assured knowing that all stands operate under a strict set of guidelines to ensure full traceability of the production process. No goods come from farther than 120 miles south, 170 miles east and west and 250 miles north of New York City. Here, we highlight the best of NYC's Greenmarkets, but you can find one near you at grownyc.org.
Hester Street Fair
Saturdays, 10am–6pm, April 27–October 26
Essex and Hester Streets, Lower East Side, Manhattan
The Hester Street Fair celebrates the culture and history of Manhattan's Lower East Side at what was the site of the busiest outdoor market in the City at the turn of the 20th century. The weekly fair brings together prepared- and packaged-food purveyors, including past participants such as Luke's Lobster, Pies 'n' Thighs, and Ample Hills Creamery. Seward Park, which adjoins the fair, provides a shady green space to relax while you eat.
Queens County Market Edible Marketplace
A new market that aims to make Queens a destination for foodies from all over, the Queens County Market Edible Marketplace is a pop-up food festival with a rotating location. The market gathers together Queens’ ethnic, artisanal and handcrafted food chefs, bakers and vendors, who whip up everything from luxe fruit-and-nut bars to bacon-fat popcorn. Sign up for the market’s newsletter to find out the location of their next event.
Thursdays, 5–10pm, May 2–September 26
851 Sixth Ave., Chelsea, Manhattan
The Hester Street Fair moves uptown to the open-air plaza at the Eventi for Hester Nights, a food vendor–only version of the popular Lower East Side market. Past participants include La Sonrisa, Bian Dang, Melt Bakery, Bombay Sandwich Co. and more. Visit hesterstreetfair.com for current vendor info.
Long Island City Food Truck Lot
43-29 Crescent St., Long Island City, Queens
An ad hoc convoy of food trucks here provides a valuable lunchtime service for the growing cadre of office workers in up-and-coming Long Island City. But it's also a destination for residents and the many visitors staying in hotels in the neighborhood. Both the schedule and lineup varies from week to week. The best way to keep up with comings and goings is on the Long Island City Food Truck Lot Facebook page.
New Amsterdam Market
Sundays, 11am–4pm, through December
South Street (bet. Beekman Street and Peck Slip), Financial District, Manhattan
New Amsterdam Market is held at the historic old Fulton Fish Market near the South Street Seaport. The market brings together butchers, bakers, grocers and other regional vendors and is steadily adding to its prepared-food retinue. New Amsterdam often has themed days at the market highlighting a different element of the food world—bakeries, butchers and fisheries have received recent attention. Check newamsterdammarket.org for the latest info.
Red Hook Food Vendors
Saturday–Sunday, 9am–9pm, through October
Bay and Clinton Streets, Red Hook, Brooklyn
For decades Brooklyn's various Latino communities have been gathering on weekends to play soccer at the ball fields in Red Hook. Around them sprung up a sort of pan-American outdoor food court, where you'll find authentic street food representing the cuisines of Guatemala, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and more. Although the vendors have been selling their fare here since 1974, it wasn't until the 2000s that they gained wider attention, drawing food-lovers from across the City for their inexpensive dishes.