Someday, it will be safe to go back outdoors again. And when that happens, the Queens International Night Market will be there for you.
Last summer’s buzziest outdoor event will reopen on April 23 at its old digs, on the grounds of the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows. Debuting last April on Saturdays from 6 p.m. until midnight, the Asian-inspired night market was your hook-up cheap street eats from around the world (plantain nachos to tentacle skewers and Guatemalan shuco) as well as merchandise vendors, artists, live entertainment and games.
During those initial 12 weeks, crowds reached over 6,000 people every weekend, says founder John Wang. But the market had to move when the U.S. Open arrived in August, followed by Maker Faire.
“We'll need to leave the Hall of Science again this year for those events too, and what happens then is totally up in the air for now,” Wang says. “Too far ahead for me to focus on!”
After it found a new home in Jamaica for the last eight weeks of the 2015 season, the market lost some of its momentum before closing on Halloween.
“It started off great (or at least better than expected),” says Wang. “But either it got too cold or the novelty wore off, and the crowds got thinner. We really weren't able to generate sustainable crowds towards the end.”
For the reopening, Wang is holding to his $5 cap on food prices. “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,” he says. “The focus has always been on community, inclusiveness, and diversity, and I tried to cultivate that every step of the way.”
In the meantime, Wang is working to line up sponsorships to be able to hire some staff (currently, he is the only non-volunteer behind the market). He’s also looking for vendors, whether it’s food, merchandise or art. Musicians and other performers are also encouraged to apply.