You’d have thought that the horrifying San Gennaro would be enough to put me off street fairs for life but this weekend, the city’s biggest street festival was in town and I couldn’t resist.
Atlantic Antic is the oldest (it started in 1974) and largest (it has 500 vendors along one mile) street fair in New York City. And it beat San Gennaro hands down.
The one-day festival is held along Atlantic Avenue, running from Hicks Street to 4th Avenue in Brooklyn. Ryan and I emerged from the subway to find ourselves surrounded by fast food trucks, beer tents and jewellery stands. But unlike San Gennaro, the wide streets actually meant there was space to roam.
We avoided the greasy-looking stands and bought delicious cranberry and raisin scones and cups of beer. Then we browsed the vendors selling huge pizzas, grilled corn, cream-topped pies and gifts as we were entertained by bands and belly dancers.
(Another joy was having a beer in the street. While street swigging is a daily sight for us Brits, it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in public places here. But because the fair was cordoned off, we could meander between the stands sipping a cold one as police officers hovered nearby, powerless.)
The atmosphere of Atlantic Antic was much better than San Gennaro. And Ryan rightly pointed out that San Gennaro was pretending to be Italian (when there really wasn’t anything Italian about it) while this fair had no such pretenses. It was just a swell of people snacking, sunning and socializing. Nice one BK.