Queens International Night Market returns with crowd control plan

The Queens International Night Market returns to Corona this month with a new ticketing scheme that will limit overflow crowds on the first two dates.
Courtesy of John Wang
By Bill Parry

When the popular Queens International Night Market returns to Flushing Meadow Corona Park later this month, the first two nights will be ticketed to help alleviate traffic, enormous crowds and any disruption to the surrounding community.The crowds for opening night last year at the Queens Hall of Science parking lot were more than double the average of 8,000 visitors who normally attend each night with a long line stretching several blocks down 111th Street.

The food-focused festival’s creator, John Wang, has devised a plan to offer limited $5 tickets April 22 and April 29, donating half of the ticket proceeds to three non-profit organizations — the New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Fund, the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and the New York Immigration Coalition. Tickets for the so-called sneak peaks can be found online at queensnightmarket.ticketleap.com/sneak-preview-1 and sneak-preview-2.

“Based on how those two go, we expect the third night will be open and free to the public again starting May 6,” Wang said.

When he announced the new plan at Community Board 4’s monthly meeting March 21, Wang drew applause for each non-profit.

“The New York Police and Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Queens International Night Market,” said Rachel Trotta, Answer the Call program manager. “We greatly appreciate that the Night Market is showing their support for the brave men and women of New York City, who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, by pledging a donation to help the families these fallen heroes have left behind.”

With more than 200 vendors representing more than 60 countries, confirmed food offerings include the always popular Burmese palatas, Romanian chimney cakes, Middle Eastern stews and new entries including Vallencian paella, Ecuadorian bollos and corviche, Barbadian fishballs and Puerto Rican jibaritos and mofongo.

“One of the most remarkable things about New York City is its diversity — and this embodied through immigrants and the many businesses they create that add to this city’s vibrancy,” New York Immigration Coalition Executive Director Steven Choi said. “The Queens International Night Market is just one more example of the New York that we know and love; one that values inclusion, dignity and more respect for immigrant contributions.”

Wang also announced that he was elected chairman of the community advisory board to the Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park. He told the crowd at the CB4 meeting to e-mail him at john@queensnightmarket.com if they have questions or if they wanted to get involved.

“Flushing Meadows Corona Park is one of the jewels in New York City, and now it has its own alliance to represent the diverse communities who know and love it best,” Alliance Executive Director Janice Melnich said. “We welcome everyone’s involvement, and we want to thank John Wang for leading the way with his donation from the Night Market.”

While the Night Market will maintain its general $5 cap on food items, a few vendors will be permitted to sell at a $6 price point this year to help out where margins are razor-thin, according to Wang.

“The mission of the Night Market has always been to cater and attract the broadest possible demographic, both in our visitors and vendors,” he said. “I think the last two years have shown that affordability and diverse representation are two of the most important factors, and those have been hard-wired into the event ever since it was just an inkling of an idea.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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