Hester Street Fair NYC
The Hester Street Fair NYC launched last Saturday with a stellar line-up of food and merchandise vendors, a few opening day jitters, and tons (and tons!) of people enjoying the Lower East Side sunshine. The model here is the Brooklyn Flea, the outer borough’s hugely successful weekly gathering of hip handicrafts, unusual antiques, and trendy foodstuffs, and the organizers of the Hester Street Fair, the Big Social, have done a great job of assembling crowd-pleasing crafting, curating, and cooking talent. The result is a high-spirited shopping and eating party on Hester Street in a lovely little park that’s going to run both days, every weekend, from now through the summer, and then deep into the fall.
Saturday’s sunny-and-warm opening-day weather couldn’t have been nicer, or more conducive to attracting hordes of hungry New Yorkers. The location here at the eastern end of Hester Street, tucked into a corner of Seward Park, is perfect, if a little cozy, with plenty of shade trees, the vendor’s booths creating a loop, and an area for picnic tables in the back. There were some definite bottlenecks and crowd-flow issues around the most popular booths (we’re talking to you, Luke’s Lobster!), but overall the Big Social people did a nice job of managing the mob at the Hester Street Fair NYC.
First, the food. The selection of high-quality, freshly-made food at the Hester Street Fair NYC is extraordinary, with the list of vendors reading like a hall of fame of quick-bite fare. And Choi was here, churning out Bahn Mi and summer rolls, and Brooklyn’s Mile End showed up with Montreal bagels and lox. The previously mentioned Luke’s Lobster drew the longest lines, but solid choices also included quiche plates from down-the-block Green Brown Orange, the astonishing creations of Sigmund Pretzelshop, and some excellent looking made-to-order omelets from toogood Traders.
Sweet treats were also in abundance at the Hester Street Fair NYC, with the great Roni Sue’s selling their Pig Candy (aka, chocolate covered bacon), First Prize Pies, and their signature truffles and buttercrunch, both of which are, by the way, the best on the planet. Kumquat Cupcakes had already sold out of almost all of their adorable mini-treats by the time we got to their booth–the Peanut Butter Banana Honey and Maple Bacon flavors being the first to go–but we did get to throw back one of their delicious Chocolate with Salted Caramel creations. And we saw folks walking around Hester Street with what looked like homemade popsicles, but couldn’t backtrack to find the source. When the weather gets warmer, those’ll be a must.
There’s plenty of straight-up shopping to be had at the Hester Street Fair NYC, too, with several handcrafted jewelry booths (we especially liked Jessica DeCarlo’s pieces); some vintage clothing and unusual-houseware flea-market-type vendors; a great selection of trivets at On the Fringe, all decoupaged with maps of varying vintages and designs; and, maybe our favorite etsy-like spot, the crazy creations of Stacy Ascibelli, including a pair of two-headed bears.
The Hester Street Fair NYC Details
The Hester Street is located on Hester and Essex Streets on the Lower East Side, in the northern end of Seward Park.The fair will be open every Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, from now through December, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information–and some great photographs of the Hester Street of yore, please visit the Hester Street Fair NYC website.
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