Despite the bustle, a relaxed vibe permeated the newest outdoor market in Long Island City as Queens opened its very own version of last weekend.
The LIC Flea & Food brimmed with vendors selling food and other goods to New Yorkers looking for a pleasant outing.
The best part, though, remained a secret to most visitors. Perhaps not wanting to stray far from the vendors, or not knowing what existed a few short blocks away, the real gem was left mostly undiscovered. Gantry Plaza State Park, cool and green, with fabulous waterfront views of Manhattan, is a haven for all with its new playground, hammocks, and amphitheater cum field full of clovers and dandelions.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there’s plenty of fun to be had at the market first.
Food vendors include some standards on the market circuit like Luke’s Lobster Roll, Dough, and Hong Kong Street Cart. Vendors from Long Island City and Astoria include Malu’s ice cream, Butcher Bar slicing up its brisket onsite and Manducatis Rustica firing up a mobile oven for pizza. LIC’s Testaccio offered up sandwiches (meatballs, sausage and pepper, eggplant), and Blend had tacos and burritos on hand.
It was mostly an interesting lineup, except for one or two vendors that seemed like a better fit for larger street festivals.
Free face painting and balloon animals were a hit for the kids in the mornings, and in the afternoon, a DJ entertained.
Kayaks were made available by the local volunteer-run boathouse for anyone wishing to try paddling in the Anabel Basin, right next to the market. Many kids enjoyed a paddle with an adult. The LIC Community Boathouse will continue to offer its free program when the market is open, depending on how many member volunteers they can rustle up. The paddling is contained to the basin, and a patrol boat is set up at the mouth to provide assistance, if required.
On the downside for the market, even though it was only a moderately hot day, the parking lot’s surface created its own heat island, amplifying the heat even more. There were a few chairs and tables set up for eating, but without the benefit of shade.
So take my advice, after you get your food, make a beeline for Gantry park, which provides a greener, cooler setting to while away the hours.
LIC Flea & Food
5-25 46th Ave., Long Island City
Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the summer.
Public transport: East River Ferry and subway lines 7, E, M, and G.