Queens International Night Market
A large, family-friendly, outdoor Night Market celebrating the rich cultural diversity and heritage of NYC and Queens
NIGHT MARKETS ARE AWESOME.
HELP US BRING ONE TO NYC BY BACKING THIS PROJECT!
All contributions will help fund the nightly production expenses.
If you have never been to one, night markets are exactly what they sound like: markets, usually outdoors, that happen at night... Sounds simple, but they have a certain energy and electricity that is impossible to replicate in the daytime. Markets can serve as gateways to different cultures, and a market with diverse participation can serve as an accessible bridge for cultural exchange. And let’s be honest, they’re really a lot of fun, and filled with tons of great food and art.
Night Markets are prevalent in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Western Europe. Some of these markets have hundreds, if not thousands, of years of history, but successful night markets have recently popped up in North American cities, including LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, Honolulu, Vancouver, and Toronto.
Sure, this city has no shortage of day-time markets and one-off events, but it’s about time NYC got its own NIGHT MARKET! That’s where you, me, and this project come in!
Whereas existing night markets tend to be fairly monothematic, reflecting one or only a small set of cultures, NYC is uniquely positioned to support a truly international, multicultural, and inclusive affair. And Queens, as the most ethnically diverse area in the world, is the perfect place for it.
WHAT: The Queens International Night Market will be a large, family-friendly, open-air night market featuring 100+ independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food, and showcasing performances and entertainment, all celebrating the rich cultural and ethnic diversity of NYC and Queens.
WHEN: 6pm - Midnight on most Saturdays from April 25th through October.
WHERE: The Night Market will most likely take place at the NY Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It will resonate with the legacy of the World's Fairs, and be an event where "international" and "local" truly go hand-in-hand.
Finding a space in NYC to sell goods, art, or food can be prohibitively expensive, especially for the kinds of culturally authentic food and merchandise we want to feature at the market. That’s why, instead of profiting off vendor fees by charging vendors an arm and a leg -- or a wing and a drumstick! -- we want to subsidize our vendors and charge as little as one-half or one-third of what existing markets charge. We think this is the only way we can attract a real, authentic diversity that truly represents the cultural and ethnic tapestry of Queens and NYC.
This means you can expect to find affordable and casual street foods you might not see at other markets. Think momos, arepas, steamed buns, empanadas, fish balls and fish cakes, tacos, takoyaki, sticky rice, skewers, curries, crepes, jerk chicken, roti, bahn mi, Bolivian sandwiches, knishes, pig feet, pizza, pastries, desserts, coffees and bubble tea, and so much more.
Instead of finding slews of the same sunglasses, socks, t-shirts, and kitschy goods, you can find culturally inspired arts, crafts, and merchandise.
We also want to feature small-scale cultural performances. Dance, music, and theatrical performances will contribute to the international flavor of the market and make the shopping and eating that much more enjoyable.
USE OF FUNDS:
Producing the Night Market will cost well over $10,000 a night in expenses alone -- but if we can prove the concept to vendors, sponsors, and NYC in 2015, it will become self-sustainable.
Funds from our initial goal will be used to pay for 1) the myriad permits and professional services we need to actually produce the Night Market; 2) the tents that will protect our vendors and their goods from the elements and for the other equipment that will give visitors a place to sit and enjoy food and be mesmerized by the featured performances; and 3) the venue rental fees for the first five dates to prove that Queens and NYC can sustain a Night Market. After that, if we can dream a little dream, stretch goals will help finance the venue rental fees for additional dates.
Every dollar will help us create an awesome, and hopefully permanent, addition to the cultural landscape of NYC and Queens. Open to all, free to attend, and filled with the diverse cultures and traditions that make NYC the Best.City.Ever.
THE ROAD THUS FAR:
I’ve spent the past year completely devoted to paving a path for the Queens International Night Market. I’ve been emailing, calling, and meeting with as many people and stakeholders as I possibly can, including politicians, community leaders, cultural institutions, economic development organizations, and tourism advocates... I’ve been speaking to countless companies and suppliers about providing insurance, security, power rentals, lighting, medical support, sanitation, and waste removal. Now what’s left is to fund this thing and make it happen!
And don't worry, I’ve bootstrapped this project since the beginning and haven’t paid myself a dollar for well over a year. I plan to keep it that way until we (this really is a “we”) can prove that the Night Market represents a real opportunity for visitors, vendors, sponsors, NYC, and, ultimately, the organizers (me!).
So, please spread the word to help us hit our funding target, if not blow past it! The more we raise, the more and better vendors and performers we can feature.
ALSO, send any potential vendors and performers our way… they are critical to the experience, so the more the merrier!
Risks and challenges
There is a fair amount of risk and uncertainty, some which cannot be even remotely planned around.
While a meticulously organized market can easily be colorful and exciting, at the end of the day, our vendors will need to make money – this means we need attract a consistent swarm of hungry visitors and visitors with the aim to shop!
On the other side, there may also be other events or other conflicts that prevent us from featuring the ideal mix of vendors. We will do everything in our power to curate the vendors that best fit our mission and goals for the Night Market.
As an outdoor event, despite the tents, we are the mercy of mother nature. Rain, rain go away.
7-train reliability – 'nuff said
We have been meeting with the NYPD, the FDNY, the local politicians, and other city stakeholders to ease the path for the Night Market, but there is no assurance that we won't inadvertently get caught in politics or red tape along the way.
And finally logistics -- reliably getting equipment (electricity, sanitation, tents, seating, etc.) delivered and set up every Saturday afternoon and getting it out by Sunday morning will be a real challenge. A lot of things could go wrong on any given night. We will roll with the punches.
ENDLESS THANKS AND CREDITS:
Each of the Queens and Flushing Meadows organizations and individuals who generously donated rewards to the campaign
Storm Garner, for graciously producing the video, despite my supreme awkwardness on camera http://www.stormgarner.com
IdS/R Architecture for their architectural work to date, and for the future mountain of design work yet to be done
And thanks to everyone who has graciously and generously shared their time and thoughts to help me get even this far along... You know who you are.
And, of course, thanks to Kickstarter for providing this platform to reach out to so many potential backers, visitors, vendors, and performers.
Excerpted music by Afuche:
Excerpted performances by Tabla for Two:
(Masood Omari and Abigail Greenway)
Photo, Morocco Night Market: By Boris Macek, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Photo, Hong Kong Night Market: Diego Delso CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
Photo, China Night Market: By McKay Savage from London, UK, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Photo, Arepas: By William Neuheisel from DC, US, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Photo, Takoyaki: By SqueakyMarmot, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Photo, Banh Mi: Nsaum75 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)
Photo, Skewer 1: By Steve Evans from Bangalore, India, CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Photo, Skewer 2: By anna Hanks (PC131594), CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
- (35 days)