I remember the first time I stumbled across a New York City street festival. I literally came around a corner near Columbus Circle and there it was: vendor after vendor of food, arts, crafts, entertainment and services for as far as the eye could see. Indian, Asian, Italian, American BBQ and so much more – I sampled them all. I ate as if I’d been stranded on a desert island for weeks instead of in the spirit of a progressive dinner, with small (and not so small) plates for sharing with friends as we enjoyed the scene.
My second memory? A short but vigorous massage by an uncredentialed gentleman, me pitched forward in a seated massage chair in the middle of the street, in a kind of delirious food coma.
I don’t mean to appear unseemly: street festivals with their locally-sourced and hand-made food mostly share a hipster/community vibe with a frisson of old-school carny. But I would like to offer some advice: Pace yourself. Post-massage and two hours of summer sun later, I retired to my hotel for an afternoon nap.
Except for a few fixed markets, the street festivals rotate through different neighborhoods during the season, so wherever you travel about the city, there they are. They are a magnet for people-watching, a huge hit with children who can run around and graze at will, and an excellent choice for solo travelers who are looking for highly-social, casual places to hang.
Where to start?
THE HESTER STREET FESTIVAL
The Hester Street Festival is a permanent fixture on the Lower East Side and is open every Saturday from 11am-6pm and for special Sunday Events, May 7th through October 21st, 2016.
From their website: Located in the heart of the Lower East Side and housed on the historic grounds of New York City’s largest pushcart market at the turn of the century, the Hester Street Fair pays homage to those roots by bringing together a collection of NYC’s best vendors in a bustling outdoor marketplace. We curate the finest artisanal food, vintage clothing, jewelry, crafts, home goods and much more.
Then there are two Hester Street Spin-offs (so you’ll know they’ll be good):
NEW YORK GRUB STREET FOOD FESTIVAL
From their website: We’re excited to announce our 6th Annual Grub Street Food Festival. Partnering once again with New York Magazine, we have curated an eclectic taste of our favorite NYC food spots. So mark Sunday, October 18th from 11 to 5 on your calendar and we’ll see you then! Plus there’s a beer garden.
HESTER AT BRYANT PARK/HBO SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL
From their website: We’ve assembled an ALL STAR food lineup for this years HBO Summer Film Festival at Bryant Park! Every Monday through Aug 24, 4-10pm around the main fountain. From the fine dining fare of DB Bistro Moderne by Chef Daniel Boulud to Vendy Award Winners Khao Man Gai NY and Ice and Vice.
And then there’s a plethora of other options:
NEW YORK STREET FESTIVALS AT LARGE
Check out the links below for more information about all NYC street festivals by date and location.
NYC Street Fairs – Listing By Date
NYC Street Fairs – Listing By Neighborhood:
Don’t forget your stretchy pants. You’ll need them.
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See all of our New York City Luxury HotelsTags:beer garden, Chef Daniel Boulud, Chelsea Street Fairs, food festivals, Grub Street Food Festival, Harlem, HBO Summer Film Festival, Hester at Bryant Park, Hester Street Festival, Ice and Vice, Khao Man Gai NY, Lower East Side, Midtown Manhattan, new york city, SoHo, street festivals, Tribeca, Upper East Side, Upper West Side