The popular Queens Night Market at Flushing Meadows Corona Park is returning with a sneak preview event on Saturday, April 16.
To help alleviate traffic and capacity issues from opening night in previous years, the event is selling a limited number of tickets for the preview event happening this Saturday as well as on Saturday, April 23.
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.
To date, most suggestions from the public relate to the tragic conflict in Ukraine, so at least a portion of the funds will be allocated to that cause. The organizer hopes to also field suggestions for more locally focused charities to support.
Last year, the event donated nearly $30,000 to Queens charities providing relief for those impacted by COVID and for victims impacted by Hurricane Ida.
“I honestly can’t believe we launched seven years ago. It feels like yesterday but also like a lifetime ago. Little did I know that this would become such an all-consuming, inescapable and integral part of my life,” said John Wang, founder of Queens Night Market. “Even more unimaginable back then, considering the countless amazing things this city has to offer, is that some people would come to call this a ‘New York City institution.’ In any case, we’ll work through the jitters and plan for contingencies the best we can because we are so, so excited to see the beautiful smiles and to hear the wonderful laughs of New Yorkers here again.”
The Queens Night Market will be free and open to the public starting on May 7. The summer season is scheduled through August, as usual, but the event will explore relocating for its fall season in September and October as the current space may become unavailable then.
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. This season, the overwhelmingly popular $5 price cap on food (with some limited $6 exceptions) will remain in place.
“I’ve been reading so many articles about the rising, exorbitant prices appearing on menus these days. In some ways, I think this has redoubled our commitment to affordability, as a kind of tiny counterweight to the skyrocketing cost of living in this city,” Wang said. “But we’re painfully aware that inflation affects our vendors’ supply chains, too, so we’re controlling what we can and keeping their fees as low as we possibly can.”
Children’s games will be reintroduced at the event this year, and 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.
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 and many more.
The event also hosts plenty of art/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.
The Queens Night Market will continue to showcase several live performances every Saturday night.
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. The Queens Night Market does not control the adjacent parking lot, and the event has recently been informed that both visitors and vendors with vehicles should expect to find newly instated $15 parking fees.