Lower East Side BID Unveils Orchard Street Festival Design Tonight

Orchard Street design concept. Rendering by Dub Studios, via LES BID.

Back in January, we reported that the Lower East Side Business Improvement District had won approval from the city to hold a community festival on Orchard Street.  For decades, the blocks between East Houston and Delancey have been closed to automobile traffic on Sundays. But the “bargain district” is, of course, not what it once was; the BID hoped a regular open-air event, showcasing boutiques and food purveyors (and including entertainment), would “reacivate” Orchard as a weekend destination.

Tonight, they’re appearing before Community Board 3 to present the plan for the first Sunday festival, which will be held June 3rd.  The BID will be showing off renderings (see above) prepared by their pro-bono architectural firm, Dub Studios, depicting how the street will be transformed for the event.   The presentation will also include a look at a prototype for a “re-invented” pushcart that will be part of the project.

The June festival is a demonstration. If all goes well, the city may sign off on more events later in the year. The BID and Dub Studios were linked up through Design NYC, an organization which “improves the lives of New Yorkers through the power of design.”

Tonight’s community board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Village View Community Room, 175 East 4th Street (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A).


Reinvigorating Orchard Street Commerce: A Proposal

A proposal to stage street fairs on Orchard's pedestrian mall is in the works.

Orchard Street’s Sunday pedestrian mall was created to accommodate shoppers back when it was a livelier retail destination, but these days, business owners regularly complain that a lack of traffic–both foot and vehicular–hinders their success.

This spring, the Lower East Side Business Improvement District is planning to try a new tack: a Sunday street fair. Tentatively titled The Orchard Street Marketplace, the fair will run between Houston and Delancey. It will include vendors along Orchard as well as some from outside. There will also be cultural programming and entertainment. The exact date has not been set, but the BID’s Bob Zuckerman tells us they are aiming for the end of May, right before Memorial Day.