Brooklyn Boro

42nd annual Atlantic Antic a hit for vendors, public

Perfect Weather Marks Brooklyn’s Fall Classic Street Fair

September 26, 2016 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Kids and parents participate in re-imagining New York City in the Transportation Museum’s section. Eagle photos by Andy Katz and Lisa Frost
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One of New York City’s largest annual street fairs began with the hunt for a rogue cookie vendor.  When an Eagle reporter arrived on site, stalls were still being set up, products were being given a last-minute polish and cooks were using tongs and strainers to prep food samples.

Event staffer Mark Volinski approached. “Are you the guy with the cookies?” he asked, with considerable diffidence.

After being assured that, to the contrary, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle does not engage in the distribution of unauthorized baked goods, Volinski explained that several vendors had reported a man seen at first selling cookies to early arrivals, and then, apparently, giving them away for free. Volinski continued on his way, promising updates on the search.

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Regarded as one of New York City’s most significant street fairs, the Antic is the creation of the Atlantic Avenue Local Development Corporation. Now in its 42nd year, the Antic brings hundreds of businesses that supply a range of products from cake on a stick to legal advice to retro-’70s denim ensembles into close proximity with the public. Booths stretch from Fourth Avenue to Hicks Street, and by 12:30 in the afternoon, walking a single block from Hoyt Street to Bond had become extremely difficult, as people from all over the five boroughs, Long Island, New Jersey and even upstate New York filled the available space.

Although it takes place after the equinox marking the official end of summer, the Antic has always seemed like Brooklyn’s official acknowledgment that summer’s over and fall has begun. And this year, the weather couldn’t have been more in tune. After days of unseasonably high temperatures and humidity, Sunday’s weather was the epitome of a perfect autumn day.

While many vendors were long-standing Antic veterans, others were first or second timers, their products and services appropriately innovative. Antic rookie Brooklyn SolarWorks attracted plenty of attention from potential customers, but CEO T.R. Ludwig insisted that his solar panel company planned a more elaborate display for next year with a booth powered entirely by solar energy. Boerum Hill’s Red Star Sandwich Shop featured a General Tso’s Chicken sandwich, which chef-owner Gibson Ho described as a fusion of leftover take-out and some not-quite-stale baguettes. Camp Cody, a summer sleep-away camp set in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, was already looking ahead to 2017. Bearing in mind that brochures and sales pitches are bland at best, representatives of the camp helped kids make ’smores.

BRIC, Brooklyn Information & Culture, pursued its Halloween project, urging passersby to don oversize donut costumes while wishing friends and neighbors a happy Halloween on camera. “It’s really about fun, about engaging the community,” said Alease Annan, BRIC marketing associate.

A good number of vendors were on hand not to sell products but to engage people politically. Eric Weltman, senior organizer of Food & Water Watch, passed out flyers urging people to contact their elected representatives and oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership. State Sen. for District 26 Daniel Squadron stood by a table piled with literature describing available government services. Squadron chatted with constituents. “You know, I just got a great idea for legislation,” Squadron said, after speaking at length with a man. “We have to research it first, but it’s about possibly making public restrooms more accessible.”

In spite of repeated enquiries to Atlantic Antic security staff, no further word of the outlaw cookie man was heard. He had apparently disappeared into the crowd. Maybe next year he’ll get a booth and make his mark legitimately on Brooklyn’s most massive street fair.


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