If you were anywhere in the vicinity of 2nd Avenue yesterday afternoon, you probably noticed the giant street fair that was going on. At first glance, such events can sometimes seem like a haphazard mélange of strange odds and ends, the only purpose of which is to create an inconvenient detour for anyone who has the bad luck to be driving across town during one. Upon closer inspection, however, street fairs can be a treasure trove of great finds.
First, there is the food. Pizza, gyros, corn on the cob, kettle corn, chocolate covered strawberries, cannolis, funnel cake – the list goes on and on, laden with enough appetizers, entrees, and desserts to leave you clutching your stomach for the rest of the afternoon. But, when you score an entire meal for only $10 – or, better yet, free, like the samples of Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee that were being given out yesterday – it’s worth it.
Then there are the accessories. Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry were acquired for only $2 after digging through mounds of bracelets and ducking under rows of dangling necklaces. And, if you feel like splurging (which at a street fair means spending more than $10 on one item), you can find quality pieces that won’t turn your skin blue after one wear, like the tan agate necklace that I bought yesterday for $16. Just be sure to browse a few jewelry stalls before making a purchase; there’s nothing worse than spending $20 on a necklace that you’re sure is one-of-a-kind, only to see the same thing for sale at another table for $10 less.
The clothing selection at a street fair can be very hit or miss. Yesterday’s fair actually had a ton of cute sundresses at very low prices, and I saw several women (my roommate included) with some great finds. Just be prepared to rummage through a few oddly-shaped sequined tanks and 80’s-style skirts before you find the newest addition to your wardrobe – and to make a run for the nearest Starbucks restroom in order to try it on.
What really gives a street fair its character, however, is the random assortment of items for sale. Nowhere else can you find tube socks and underwear next to tables raffling off Yankee tickets and luxury cars. Beautiful orchids bloom next to stalls full of used records, VHS tapes, and children’s books, while hand-painted martini glasses are on display across from 300-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. You can find knick-knacks, trinkets, and thing-a-ma-bobs for every nook and cranny of your apartment.
And no street fair would be complete without the appropriately named “Interesting Objects” table, where an array of scissors, magnifying glasses, and other little metal tools with no apparent purpose sit waiting for someone to browse through them and realize that a funny-shaped screwdriver-like thing is just what they need.
So go ahead and browse…you never know what you may find!
For a list of upcoming street fairs, click here.