Seen & Heard: Community Board 1’s 16-Day Street Fair

••• G. sent over this photo of something you don’t see every day—a water tower under construction.

••• I attended the Community Board 1 Licensing and Permits Committee last night—more on the main agenda item later—but I regret not having noticed this item beforehand and made more of it in the agendas:

Street Activity Permit Office application for Downtown Community Holiday Expo; December 1–December 16, 2017; 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Liberty Street between Broadway and Church Street

I boldfaced the important part. As you may know, Community Board 1 raises funds for itself—I’m not sure how they’re used—by hiring Mardi Gras Productions to hold street fairs within the district. This is the first time Mardi Gras is staging a two-week holiday market instead of the usual day-long events. Normally, CB1’s street fair task force discusses street-fair applications, but it doesn’t weigh in on the ones that benefit itself, because that would be a conflict of interest. As a result, however, no one from the community is involved in determining whether the events are acceptable. (The city’s Street Activity Permit Office unilaterally decides.) That block of Liberty—I don’t know whether the fair is on the north side of the street (One Liberty Plaza) or the south (Zuccotti Park)—may or may not be a fine place for a two-week schlockfest, but clearly the system is broken if CB1 is letting its own events get a free pass. (Not holding yourself to the same standard doesn’t exactly resolve the conflict of interest.) Anyway, what I found most interesting was how much CB1 earns from a typical one-day street fair: around $1,500. Two questions: Is there really not enough money in the Manhattan Borough President’s budget to cover the annual income, so we don’t have to put with this crap? And would CB1 ever approve a 16-day street fair if it wasn’t the beneficiary?

••• Tribeca Art+Culture Night is this coming Wednesday, November 15. RSVP via the website now for the special events (but no RSVP necessary if you simply want to wander into participating venues).

••• Laughing Man is apparently running a pour-over coffee bar at the 180 store a few doors down.

••• Local couple Oskar and Nicole Joy Elmgart have started a company called Treebath: “Inspired by Sweden’s outdoor programs, Treebath offers nature-based programs for children and adults that help people reconnect with nature. Join us and experience the best connection you’ll ever have—without the wi-fi.” There are workshops and after-school sessions at the Battery for kids age 4 to 7, with more—including “forest bathing”—on the way. (“Forest bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature. The term comes from the Japanese word shinrin-yoku, meaning “immersing in the forest atmosphere.”) It’s never too soon to get your kids—or yourself—interested in nature.

••• “The Black List” TV show is shooting in the Church/Duane area today.



  1. I’ve long thought that a holiday market on Stone Street and the adjacent parks would be ideal, with the right decorations it would be very Instagram worthy and create a very pleasant experience for tourists and locals who are not familiar with FiDi. I would add the innovation of freshly roasted oyster stalls to the festivities to be more in keeping with the old waterfront legacy of Pearl and Stone Street. Perhaps someday.

  2. There have been some previous fairs on that block and they’re not like the usual ones–some handmade jewelry, stuff like that, different kinds of food than the big street fairs (sorry to be so vague but I don’t like to eat standing up and didn’t pay much attention). The booths were on both sides of the street. Maybe it will be more like the Bryant Park/Union Square ones. I don’t particularly like them but I’m ok with annoying as many drivers as possible and making downtown more pedestrian.

  3. Very glad to see the Tribeca Art+Culture Night continue!
    I’ve attended every one, and it’s a very enjoyable night. Most of the galleries are not crowded, so you can see the art.

    (Although, one hopes/fears that the attendance will pick up so the event will continue into the future).