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Reinvigorating Orchard Street Commerce: A Proposal

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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.

“The idea is to reactivate these streets,” Zuckerman said.

His organization is one of 16 non-profits taking part in a Design NYC program that matches organizations with design-centric partners. The BID is working with architectural firm Dub Studios, which will help plan the appearance of the booths and the street in general. Zuckerman says the city does not want this to be a “typical street fair.”

If the pilot program is successful, it may open the door for additional Sunday events in the fall, Zuckerman said.

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