The two decade festival held nearby Fresh Pond Road in the middle of Menahan and Woodbine streets in Ridgewood has been struck down with a decision of 22-12 vote by its Community Board 5 last Wednesday. The reason for the festival –held from September 3 to 6 – being denied is due to the concern for the residents living within the scope of this late-summer celebration.
The street fair, annually hosted by Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, has been narrowly given the green light last year with a vote of 18-15 after a heated dialogue between its boards.
Now the opposing party of the supposed 22nd annual Italian festival has been successful in rallying against the fair.
But there are others who vigorously contradict this decision, saying that the street fair has been a positive impact in the community for all the years that it was celebrated.
That being said, let’s look at the pros and cons presented by this late-summer feast.
The Bad Side
Probably the biggest concern that people voice out during this four-day fair is the traffic that it causes. Residents have voiced that it’s quite difficult to drive their cars even when the fiesta hasn’t started yet and is only a couple of days ahead.
This is because it attracts vendors which set-up shops to take advantage of the thousands of revelers that attend the Italian festival.
Transportation Committee Co-Chairman John Maier argued that the festival isn’t just four days but more like a week as vendors take about two days to set-up shops and two more days to deconstruct their rudimentary stores.
And this is only days before the actual thing start. When it’s at full swing, residents said they’re practically prisoners. Bus are rerouted to narrower streets which then gets bottle-necked by the amount of traffic being redirected, creating headaches for commuters and the rest of the community.
Another concern is the patrons’ inebriated behavior that can potentially cause serious problems, namely: unsafe driving, violence, and public disturbances.
There is also the concern of the amount of refuse that’s being littered by vendors and attendees; refuse that are left for the residents of the area to clean themselves.
Despite these complaints the street fair does have a positive impact on the community. The profits yielded by the Italian festival are directed for the support of the area’s senior citizen as they do not receive funds from city or state.
It’s also been quite the tradition for most that have attended the festival.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. has voice his disagreement with the board’s decision, saying that he had brought his family to the festival for several years now and that he and his would be upset if the festival will no longer be celebrated.
But the final decision is yet to be made as the Mayor’s Street Activity Permit Office, the one who green light fair applications, has yet to elect if it will side with the community board or not.