It doesn't feel like it now, but one day the snow mountains will crumble and we'll once again be free to roam without fear of drowning in a slush lagoon. And here's some timely news to put you in a spring-like mood: the Queens International Night Market is returning to the borough this spring! The delicious and popular weekly event will debut for its second season on April 23rd, taking up residence once again at the NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park following a brief sojourn to Jamaica, Queens late last season.
Founder John Wang is currently in vendor application mode, looking for the food and craft purveyors who'll make up the market's offerings. "Last year, at our fullest, we approached 100 vendors on a single night. I think we will try to cap our food vendors at around 50 this year," Wang explained. "From my experience, if there are more than that, it's kind of a paralysis of options for the visitors. And, of course, capping the number of food stalls is better for the food vendors that are participating."
Wang says he's seeking to "emphasize traditional street foods" with this year's lineup and hopes to have an even wider geographical range represented. "We had some underrepresented regions last year (such as Middle Eastern, African, and some Western European)," he admitted. "I'd like to represent as many regions, cultures, and countries as possible. I know some visitors would appreciate more vegetarian options too!"
Last year's offerings included items like octopus-stuffed takoyaki topped with bonito flakes and kewpie mayo, griddled noodles, yakitori-style skewers with chicken, grilled squid and roti stuffed with meat and eggs. Regardless of who shows up to cook this year, Wang says the $5 price cap per item will remain in place. “I tried to make the Night Market as accessible and affordable as possible for our visitors, which meant making it as accessible and affordable as possible for vendors. The focus has always been on community, inclusiveness, and diversity, and I tried to cultivate that every step of the way." Interested parties can apply here for the 2016 season.
Beginning in April, the market will operate Saturdays from 6 p.m. to midnight and will also include live performances in addition to the food and goods. Wang hopes to double their entertainment component from last year's 50 and he's also keen to highlight the non-edible portion of the market. "The more art and merchandise vendors we have this year, the closer the Night Markets gets to becoming a real community event that highlights diversity and culture... not to mention supporting local artists and businesses."