After taking a few weeks off when the US Open was in town, the Queens Night Market is back at Flushing Meadows Corona Park for its fall season, setting up shop behind the New York Hall of Science every Saturday starting at 5 p.m., from now through October 29th.
With more than 50 different vendors slinging street food specialties from all over the world, plus live entertainment, local artisans selling their wares, and a family-friendly atmosphere, Queens Night Market has become a vital part of New York City's food and entertainment landscape. In fact, founder John Wang estimates that since its debut in 2015 the market has featured some 350 new businesses, representing at least 90 different countries, and hosted around two million visitors to the weekly festivities. And it's only become more popular with age! Wang told MTA Away that this past summer was the market's busiest yet.
Here's everything you need to know about joining the party this fall.
Queens Night Market Food
The roster of food vendors every week is extraordinary in its diversity, and every booth features at least one item that costs no more than five or six dollars, so it's easy to make yourself a feast of different dishes from places like Trinidad and Burma, Peru and Iran, Korea and Hungary, Haiti and Tibet.
The obvious move here is to come with a companion or a whole crew, get as many different dishes as possible, and share everything.
On opening day of the fall season some favorites included the plump ground beef Afghan dumplings known as Mantu from Mohibullah Rahmati's brilliant Nansense tent (he also makes a killer bowl of Shor Nakhud, or hot and sour chickpeas), and the incredible Ethiopian Sega Wet Plate from newcomer Emeye, a hearty dish of slow-cooked beef, tangy greens, and enough spongy injera to sop it all up. So good, hopefully the women behind this spot open a restaurant!
Longtime market vendor Joey Bats, famous for his Portuguese Pastel de Natas custard tarts, has something new and savory for the fall, a Bifana sandwich packed with well-seasoned, wine-marinated pork on a soft roll.
The stuffed Fushka balls at Bengali Street Eats explode with flavor, the Thai Boiled Whelk with spicy dipping sauce at Mahanakhon is fun to eat and turns a lot of heads, and the Keema Palata at Myo Lin Thway's Burmese Bites is as satisfying as ever.
And, of course, there are the perennial crowd-pleasers, like the Roast Pork Pan Fried Noodles at Hong Kong Street Food, the Brazilian Steak Sandwiches at Brazilicious, and the Fried Potato Twists at Twisted Potato. Don Ceviche is back as well, with its overflowing bowls of Peruvian Ceviche which, like many dishes here, is an amazing bargain.
There are several excellent options when it's time for dessert, including Nigel Sielegar's inimitable Moon Man, serving excellent Indonesian Coconut Pancakes, Sticky Rice with Kaya Jam, and Baked Cassava Cakes. Janie Deegan of the great Janie'soffers a full lineup of her wonderful crisp-and-chewy Pie Crust Cookies. The Romanian chimney cake ice cream cones at Twister Cake are always a hit, and new this fall are the super cute cotton candy bunnies at the Art Cotton Candy booth.
Queens Night Market Fun
In between courses, it's always fun to wander around the art and merchandise booths, all run by local small businesses. Thai Orchids has some lovely bouquets and orchids, Sole Charms will help you spruce up your Crocs with whimsical jibbitz, and Gregory Valentine, who brings his entire family every week, offers an astounding array of colorful sculptures constructed entirely of wadded-up masking tape.
And don't miss the Tragos booth, which sells several variations on what creator Carolina Acosta calls "the party game para Latinos." It's like truth or dare, with funny or espicy questions on a deck of cards, and the dare is always "drink."
Speaking of alcohol, there's plenty to find around the Queens Night Market, and live entertainment on two stages — the DJs are particularly good with the classic dance bangers — and plenty of picnic tables and lawn space to spread out on a blanket. The vibes, as they say, are immaculate.
Programming notes: On Saturday, September 24th, the Queens Night Market will double as a fundraiser to provide Hurricane Fiona relief, pledging 33% of its own net proceeds from Saturday’s event to support Hurricane Fiona relief efforts on the ground. You can make voluntary suggested donations of $5 at the entrance gate to support the effort.
Wang said, "Supporting victims of natural disasters is something we can all get behind. I can’t imagine what the families in Puerto Rico must be going through right now, and during Hispanic Heritage Month no less.”
The fall season finale will take place on October 29th, and will feature trick-or-treating and costume contests with prizes. The kids’ costume contest will start at 8:30 p.m. and the adults’ contest will immediately follow around 9:15 p.m.
Getting There via the MTA
Parking is extremely limited here, both in the lot adjacent to the market and in the surrounding neighborhood, but public transportation to Queens Night Market is abundant and easy! The 7 train is your best bet, getting off at the 111th Street station and walking about four blocks south to 45th Avenue and Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Or take the MTA's Q23 or Q58 buses to Corona Avenue and 108 Street, or the Q48 to 111 Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
Take the 7 to 111th Street station and and walk 5 minutes
The Queens Night Market is located in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, next to New York Hall of Science, and is open every Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight from now through October 29th. Admission is free.