This story is part of a series that explores New York nightlife.
Neal Bakshi and Oliver Griffiths sat on stationary Citi Bikes in Brooklyn last Saturday night, using them as makeshift tables and chairs as they dined.
Mr. Bakshi, 29, was eating fajitas from a truck parked to their right while Mr Griffiths, 37, was eating tacos from a truck to their left.
“As a fast food establishment, I am baffled by the idea that I have an open container of hot liquid,” said Griffiths, pointing to his birria tacos and a small storage container. plastic drink.
“I only have two hands, and I’m lucky I have a ‘table,’” he said, pointing to the bike’s basket. “Maybe this is why they put themselves here. “
The bike station, on Wyckoff Avenue, on Jefferson Street in Bushwick, is at the end of a three-block stretch of nearly a dozen late-night carts, usually parked there on weekends until clubs and parties close. that disbanded early. morning.
And while some people grab tacos or halal food late at night before heading home at 4 a.m., others stop by trucks before and between parties, like Mr. Bakshi and Mr. Griffiths, who are on the way to a DJ gig at Elsewhere.
However, for thousands of people at Queens Night Market in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, eating to be their Saturday night plans.
Sure, the market has a duck named Wrinkle performing laps and a makeshift dance floor where everyone faithfully stomps along the “Cha Cha Slide” and the “Cupid Shuffle”.
But first, those who come to the park are there to try the market’s more than 50 food vendors.
And Queens Night Market isn’t the only place in New York where people spend the night sampling a wide range of foods. Other night markets have sprung up in recent years the Bronx, Harlem and Chinatownwith their own set of suppliers.
Dense nightlife areas, like the stretch of Wyckoff Avenue on Jefferson Street and the Lower East Side, also draw dozens of late-night vendors serving pizza, burgers and chicken rice until the sun comes up. grow.
Mattos Paschal, 30, came to Queens Night Market from Astoria to meet friends and try a variety of dishes from around the world.
“On the train here, I said, ‘Do we want to go to as many continents as we can? Do I want something on a stick? ”, she said with a smile.
“Yak cheese is delicious,” she added, describing a potato she bought at a Tibetan stall. “I haven’t had it before, but I love it!”
John Wang, 40, founded the market in 2015 and remains a key player for the seasonal event.
While running around to put out the fire on Saturday night, he said he was inspired by the night markets he visited in Taiwan as a child.
“Some food festivals and concerts have very specific target demographics or have disposable income, either they like this kind of music or they live in this neighborhood,” he said. “For me, the night market in Taiwan really represents the whole city.”
Part of the market’s traction is certainly the community aspect – as Mr. Wang put it, “you don’t know who you’re sitting next to”.
But the market price cap, which requires suppliers to keep their prices below $5 per item (with a few exceptions, $6), may be one of the main reasons. causing many people to flock there every week.
“I talk all about diversity and many things, but I think a lot of this is just about price caps,” Mr. Wang said. “It’s the only place in New York City where you can still buy a meal for $5.”
And coordinating the Queens Night Market, which involves picking dozens of vendors each year to fill an increasingly tight space, is no easy feat.
Mr. Wang said the market averages 15,000 visitors each week, or more than a quarter of a million people during the season.
“Six days a week, I’m stressed and it’s crazy and I’m not sure I want to do it,” Mr. Wang said. “But then it was Saturday night.”
Where to go
Queens Night MarketSaturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, beginning May 7, in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, next to the New York Science Hall at 47-01 111th Street, queensnightmarket.com
Uptown Night MarketThursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., beginning May 12, 701 West 133rd Street in Harlem, uptownnightmarket.com
Chinatown Night MarketSaturday from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. starting May 20, Forsyth Plaza (at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge), thinkchinatown.org/nightmarket
World Trade Center SmorgasburgFriday 11am-7pm, The Oculus at Fulton and Church Street, smorgasburg.com