COMMUNITY BOARD TO RECONSIDER DECISION TO SHUT DOWN CRAFTS ON COLUMBUS

mosaics
Photo of the Mollycat Mosaic booth at Crafts on Columbus.

After a petition and an uproar by some residents and artists, Community Board 7 is reconsidering a previous vote to recommend that Crafts on Columbus be shut down.

The turnaround means that the fair, which sets up six times a year on Columbus from 77th to 81st, could continue in the fall.

After the community board voted in 2012 to stop the fair when its permit runs out this May, the parks department had declined to renew the fair’s permit. But on Tuesday night, under pressure from City Council member Helen Rosenthal and some community members, Community Board 7 agreed to revisit the vote. It’s likely to come up at a community board parks committee meeting scheduled for Monday, May 19.

A parks department spokesperson told us the department is open to giving the fair a new permit if the community board changes its vote.

“If CB7 does decide to revisit the issue and vote in favor of the market’s return, we would consider issuing a new RFP, however we cannot speculate on specifics at this time.”

Either way, it can’t hurt to head to Crafts on Columbus this weekend to show your support, and maybe buy a last minute gift for Mother’s Day. Depending on the vote, this could be the last weekend ever for the crafts fair.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Eli says:

      You might add that the petition is past seventeen-hundred signatures and growing! To add your signature, click here: http://goo.gl/krQIqn

    2. NikFromNYC says:

      The community board wants you bored. They will destroy all that is fine and good, because communism.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Oy, Nik !!!

        • webot says:

          don’t know if its communism, but it is cronyism.

          The CB does use its power that in my opinion negatively effect the neighborhood. As I have said, ask any restaurant / bar owner about the CB overreach in their business which yes kills nightlife, outdoor cafes, and jobs and taxes.

          High rents are only one factor.

    3. kaz says:

      I do not get what so special about that fair.

      • ShermCraig says:

        Well, considering that virtually every Mom & Pop store has been priced out of the neighborhood, the craft fair is one of the few places you can purchase from in the neighborhood that isn’t from a national chain!

      • k says:

        I happen to think the fair is good, but it’s not even so much that it’s “special.” It’s more that the rationale to shut it down is ridiculous, it’s a gross misappropriation of power for the community board to just shut it down, and it’s just a good small harmless fair where you can buy something different and support local artists.

    4. Paul RL says:

      I don’t particularly love the fair, but it adds sorely needed life to the UWS. Anything that brings visitors to the neighborhood is a good thing in my opinion. Why our CB would even entertain kicking it out is beyond me. Oh, wait – it fits into their master plan to turn the UWS into a place to go and…sleep.

    5. diane wildowsky says:

      This is how people earn a living. These are artists who put their heart and soul into what they create. What is the problem with allowing them this space for a couple of weekends a year? Years ago I was a crafter and did this fair. It was a terrific way to promote my then new business and to earn significant income.

    6. Jenny says:

      The crafts fair displaces the Farmer’s Market. The Farmers Market is so much more important to the community. In October, when their stalls are bursting at the seams with their bounty they are crowded in the back of the schoolyard and I’ve been told their sales are down considerably for the 3 weeks they are there.

    7. naro says:

      Cut back the craft fair to three per year in summer, and use the space for farmer market in the fall.

    8. Lisa says:

      To Whom This Concerns,

      I haved lived on 82nd street between Columbus and CPW for the past 22 years and have very much enjoyed and purchased items from the Arts and Crafts Fair on Columbus behind the Museum of Natural History. I would like to make a formal protest to the closing of this semi annual event and would be very sad if indeed it came to an end.

    9. Deri says:

      IN addition to signing the petition, call or write to CB7 to express your views: 212-362-4008 and office@cb7.org

      This is what I wrote:

      Please reconsider the request to the Dept of Parks and Rec to NOT issue an RFP for the crafts fair on Columbus.

      We have lived in the neighborhood for 21 years and look forward to the Columbus Avenue crafts fair every spring and fall. The goods offered at crafts fair are so much better than the tube socks/mozzarepa/fake 1000-count sheets found at the proliferation of street fairs in the neighborhood. They are actual, quality goods that are usually created by the actual people manning the booths.

      Furthermore, there is virtually NO disruption to traffic and neighborhood shops with the crafts fair — unlike the numerous street fairs, which tie up traffic for miles, and blast very bad music outside my window for hours at a time.

      As for the farmers’ market — what is so bad about relocating to the schoolyard a couple of times a year? Next year, maybe it could move to 81st street, along the museum, which is no longer being used by the crafts fair.

      Please, please, please — don’t let us lose this treasured neighborhood institution.

    10. Michele Berman says:

      Many thanks to the West Side Rag for letting people know that we have a community board that makes decisions that are not good for the quality of life in our neighborhood.