Some New Yorkers might do their best to avoid a street fair, but today confirms that I am not one of those: I love plebiscite pleasures a la pavement. Especially one that brings the vast array of New York humanity and ethnicities together.

There’s nothing as fun and liberating as the people taking back the streets. And this evening, perambulating between 40th and 57th streets confirmed that.

Traffic be damned, cars came a distant second as they tried to legally cross 9th Avenue as throngs in the many thousands swelled across the blocks from horizon to horizon.

I went out with one mission: to eat my street fair favourite, a maize arepa with melted mozarella cheese in the middle. It didn’t take long, about three blocks, to find an ‘mozarepa’ stall and sate my ‘hunger.’ And not two blocks later, someone stopped me to find out where the nearest store was because they were on the hunt for one too!

I since discovered that the 9th Avenue street fair is the largest in the city and it certainly felt that way. What made the experience all the more enchanting was that everyone was in such a good, Spring mood due to the good weather — sunny, warm, but not hot and with a breeze off the Hudson River to keep things perfect.

Crowds ambled their way from pig roast starters, to Cuban food sides with Thai salad and raw oyster mains, and ending on hot funnel cake and Nutella “French crepes” (served by people of African, Hispanic or Asian enthicity with narry a French connection).

Kids gleefully filled their arms with an assortment of environmentally degrading stuff, from various balloons, to Sponge Bob and Nemos on sticks (so you can poke them at people taller than yourself, a.k.a. adults) and a mind-boggling array of inflatable things (balls, gigantic bats and hammers, spidermen etc.)

And teens paraded, variously promending their clothes/hair/tatoos/piercings/boyfriends/recently-acquired stuffed animals/belly buttons. They also exercised their buying power on discount priced T-shirts, jewellery, cosmetics etc.

Dogs gorged on wierd tidbits, guaranteed to result in digestif regret for both themselves and their owners.

And the only people asking for money was a ten-strong group of friends in full Revenge of the Sith gear, trying to recoup some of the $500 a piece they had shelled out to go to the Star Wars III premiere. (They promise it is totally worth it.)

Favourite odd-signage of the day: “maiz”, “ice hot”, and “bubl”.



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