Just as the Center for an Urban Future released its report on how NYC street fairs could benefit from a makeover, Mayor Bloomberg said, yes, the fairs aren't really adding anything—"It's all the same stuff"—and wants to limit them further, since it costs the city a lot in police overtime. In spite of street fairs being at a six-year low of 321 in 2009, Bloomberg still wants that number to go down, "I think the answer is to limit them and have them only in certain places."
Back in 2006, the Center for an Urban Future pointed out that almost half of the food permits were held by the 20 largest vendors (9 from outside NYC) and there's no incentive for the street fair organizers to engage local businesses to participate. In the Center's the new report, diverse New Yorkers, like Deborah Marton of the Design Trust for Public Space and the Brooklyn Flea's Eric Demby, discuss the evolution of street fairs. For instance, Irwin Cohen, the developer behind Chelsea Market, says of current fairs:
"It’s really become a controlled event, with the same dealers and the same odor coming out of the cooking oil wherever you go in the city. You walk through blocks and blocks of these street fairs, but the very essence of New York is not there. I’m in New York but these fairs could be anyplace in the United States."
He thinks that street fairs should incorporate theater—like actors rehearsing a play— to show off the cultural vibrancy of the city; musician David Byrne suggests a flea market/fair on Governors' Island. However, the Post reports that "officials said they face significant legal hurdles in trying to limit and re-engineer the fairs, including the right of community sponsors to select the vendors they want."