As tempting as zeppoles, fruit magnets and gym socks are, there's still a movement to re-think the city's street fairs (which cost the city much more in police overtime than what it makes in permits). City Councilman Daniel Garodnick told the Daily News, "These have become monothematic corporate enterprises with very little local or community flavor and the system is in need of reform." But the heads of those corporate enterprises are saying they are helping the little guy!
Three companies are behind two-thirds of all street fair events that are produced in the city. Tom Berman, whose Clearview Productions took in $2.3 million from vendors, said, "I earn my living by helping hundreds of groups that help thousands of people all year round. In these extraordinarily difficult times, many of these groups are relying more than ever on the money from these fairs." Non-profit groups can get permits for street fairs for just $15, whereas a private company would have to pay over $38,500 (it's unclear whether the non-profit groups are really making that much money from them—some groups make less than $5,000.)
Berman also said of critics, "That's very much the yuppie attitude - 'We don't want to close the street. We don't want shopping on the street.' The streets belong to the neighborhood and to New Yorkers." Another street fair founder, Arthur Tisi, insisted, "Hundreds of thousands of people love street fairs."