An all around “quiet” weekend at the LIC Food & Flea. Visitors were greeted by signs informing them that some of the vendors were vacationing. Antiques dealers might have been at an antiques fair on Long Island. It is not entirely clear how much vendors at the LIC Food & Flea are actually paying for the opportunity to sell their wares there. When the market opened, the initial daily fees seemed to be in the $200-$250 range. On Sunday, some vendors said that they were paying $150 per day for a 10ft*10ft tent. These $150 would pay for access to an estimated 1000 daily visitors per day. Compare that to a daily fee of $125 for many large Manhattan street fairs that generate 25,000 or 50,000 people in foot traffic.
One vendor explained that he didn’t make any money at the LIC Food & Flea this Sunday. The list on his table counted a couple of dozen sales of different flavors of his product. But he seemed optimistic and declared that he was happy to test market his product and to talk to customers who tried it. Representatives of two local restaurants agreed. One said, “The flea is not a money maker but we hope that it will drive traffic to the restaurant!” A voucher offered a special promotion if brought to the restaurant on the day of the flea.
According to regular observers Horman’s Best Pickles has been one of the regular vendors who have consistently made money.
No lines today at the tent of the East River Ferries.
Some build-out seems to be under way in the adjoining warehouse whose ramp opens to the flea market lot. One can see in the background the studs for a dry wall that might separate a narrow space along the windowed wall from the larger part of the warehouse. As pointed out elsewhere, the warehouse might be ideally equipped to house an indoor version of the flea market during the cooler months because it offers a wide entrance ramp and high ceilings.
Some visitors enjoyed the spacious seating area that had been set up under tents in the unused parts of the flea market lot. The Labor day-weekend market used approximately 60% of the space occupied on the opening weekend some months ago. There were no complaints from any of the visitors who did not encounter lines and found enough space to spread out. Might be a different story for the vendors.