The Queens Night Market is returning for its seventh season to Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight beginning April 16.
There are a limited number of tickets available for two sneak preview events on April 16 and April 23 to help alleviate traffic and capacity issues that occurred during market openings in previous years. Tickets are $5 and should be purchased in advance — children under 12 are free. If any tickets remain unsold for either night, tickets will be $8 at the door.
The event is pledging at least 20% of net ticket proceeds to charity and is taking suggestions for causes that are important to New Yorkers. Last year, the event donated nearly $30,000 to Queens charities providing relief for those impacted by COVID-19 and for victims of Hurricane Ida flooding.
Following the two preview weekends, the Queens Night Market will be free and open to the public starting on May 7.
“There’s so much to worry about these days. We’re still grappling with the pandemic, there’s an unsettling rise in hate crimes, and there’s the terrifying threat of a world war breaking out any day,” said John Wang, founder of Queens Night Market. “Amidst all that bad, hopefully the return of the Queens Night Market will represent some good, albeit small, news for New Yorkers.”
Over its first six seasons, the Queens Night Market has welcomed nearly 2 million visitors, helped launch approximately 350 brand-new businesses in New York, and represented over 90 countries through its vendors and their food.
The event averaged over 15,000 attendees each Saturday night in 2021. Last year was the busiest year on record for Queens Night Market vendors. Despite the trademark price caps imposed on their menus, food vendors averaged nearly $2,500 per night in sales.
The overwhelmingly popular $5 price cap on food — with some limited $6 exceptions — will remain in place.
According to Wang, their mission to be “NYC’s most affordable, diverse and welcoming” community event has remained unchanged since their launch in 2015.
“I know inflation is going to really squeeze our vendors’ already thin margins, so we’ll keep their fees as low as we possibly can. We’ve never profited from vendor fees, and we’ll keep honoring that commitment to our vendors, who really are the lifeblood and the superstars of the event,” Wang said.
The curatorial mission of the Queens Night Market is to feature traditional foods that may be hard to find in NYC, made by the people who grew up eating them. Although the event has received approximately 300 applications for this year, vendor recruitment continues to be challenging. The staffing difficulties that the food industry is facing are becoming insurmountable roadblocks for many vendors hoping to participate.
This season is expected to include Afghan mantu and chapli kababs, Indonesian kue pancong and ote ote, Portuguese pastéis de nata, Filipino balut, dinuguan and lugaw, Romanian kürtőskalács, Mexican huaraches, Indian tandoori barbecue, Haitian diri ak djon djon, Burmese palatas and tea leaf salad, and many more.
The event also hosts plenty of art and merchandise vendors and the season will include vintage apparel, hand-poured candles, travel photography, crochet toys, stationery, small-batch soap, henna, vintage brooches and ads, international handcrafts, NYC-themed apparel, gourmet dog treats, handmade jewelry, ceramics and local art.
With the current COVID numbers, the event anticipates that children’s games will be reintroduced this year. Signed copies of the Queens Night Market’s award-winning cookbook will also be available for sale at the event. “The World Eats Here” was co-authored by Wang and his wife, Storm Garner, a filmmaker and oral historian.
One major issue the event faced last year was the number of visitors who drove vehicles to the event, creating congestion and illegal parking concerns. Visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transportation where possible. Additionally, the Queens Night Market does not control the adjacent parking lot, and visitors who choose to drive may encounter new parking fees out of the organizer’s control.