Since LIC Flea & Food opened five months ago, it saw weekends filled with growing amounts of success as family, friends and people from all over New York made their way to Long Island City and made the market their weekend destination.
The outdoor market kicked off on June 15 and since then has offered the community quick access to public transportation, a wide variety of vendors and economic growth in the growing community.
“I’m so grateful to all the amazing vendors that took part in the first season of LIC Flea & Food,” said Joshua Schneps, LIC Flea & Food president. “The participation of the vendors is what made LIC Flea so special. We were fortunate to be embraced by the community and have thousands of people discover and enjoy the neighborhood.”
Since its inaugural weekend, residents and visitors from near and far have been able to enjoy unique vendors selling food from around the world, including “designer” delicious chocolates, pizza right out of a portable oven, marshmallows of every flavor and unique popcorn. LIC Flea has also featured antiques, artists’ works, vintage clothing, costume jewelry and more for the family.
“When I heard about the Flea, I was really excited because finally Queens had a flea market,” said Kazuko Nagao, owner of LIC Flea vendor Oconomi, who regularly serves Oconomiyaki, Japanese vegetable pancakes. “It’s kind of sad it’s coming to an end but we’re definitely excited to come back.”
Throughout the months LIC Flea has celebrated Japanese heritage, welcomed the Big Apple Circus, HGTV’s show “Flea Market Flip,” a Charming Child Contest, a pumpkin patch straight from the farm, our furry four-legged friends were invited for an early Halloween costume contest and visitors were also able to take free kayak trips at the Anable Basin right next to the market.
During LIC Flea’s last weekend, which was on October 26 and 27, visitors were able to participate in a workout during CrossFit Long Island City’s Barbells for Boobs fundraiser, raising money for Barbells for Boobs, a nonprofit breast cancer organization. LIC Flea also held a bar crawl through the neighborhood offering $1 half pint beers at certain locations.
And since LIC Flea brought in people from all around the borough and the city, local business have also been positively impacted as new customers made their way through the neighborhood as well.
“It both brought attention from people that lived in the neighborhood to come out and do something they normally do, but also brought people from all over the place,” said Marcus Burnett, co-owner of Rockaway Brewery, located across the street from the market on 46-01 5th Street. Burnett said he saw a 50 percent increase in sales during the summer. “It has been a big increase in business because of it. It was a good vibe.”
LIC Flea will back in Long Island City in mid April 2014.
“We were fortunate to be embraced by the community and have thousands of people discover and enjoy the neighborhood,” said Schneps. “The first year was a great way for us to create a following and we look forward to the upcoming season.”
LIC Flea & Food is within walking distance from the No. 7 train and East River Ferry LIC/Hunters Point stop. Riders can also transfer from the N and Q lines at Queens Plaza to connect to the No. 7 train.
LIC Flea is already looking for new vendors with unique and high quality hand crafted items, vintage items, artisan items and as well as fantastic food to participate in next year’s market. Applications can be completed at www.licflea.com.