Big Crowd Turns Out as Second Ave Street Fair Kicks Off City’s Season in Early May

The East Side Street Fair is one of the city’s oldest. While was held earlier than usual this year, the crowds still turned out as the city’s spring/summer street fair season moves into high gear.

| 13 May 2024 | 01:31

Street Fair fare–This year’s Second Ave Street Fair from 66th to 86th Streets seemed different to me. Could be because it was earlier than usual? This one was on May 4th. They usually started in mid-May or thereabouts with a big kickoff with the Ninth Avenue Street Fair. Historically, the blocks-long Manhattan street fairs began in the 1970s when supermarket mogul (and one-time runner up in Republican primary race for mayor) John Catsimatidis started the West Side Fair. Then, in the late 70s, early 80s, Our Town started the Third Avenue Street Fair. Street Fairs then became the rage and the Third Avenue Fair was the forerunner of annual East Side and other blocks-long fairs. And lets not forget the myriad of local block fairs sponsored by neighborhood associations.

This year’s Second Avenue Fair had it all–crafts, clothing, jewelry, local political clubs, games for kids, as well as the usual hot dog and sausage vendors, Mexican corn stands, Peking Duck being tucked into crepes by vendors to a long line of takers willing to spend $15 for the privilege. And on and on with long lines waiting for the crepes. And longer lines waiting for pickles, gelato, Pad Thai, lemonade. Inflation was everywhere. Nobody seemed to mind, including doggies chomping on what looked like pricey toys and bratwurst buyers adding dollars’ worth of sauerkraut piled on to their wurst in lieu of or in addition to a beer. Kvetches aside, street fairs are a great way to enjoy and celebrate the Spring and Summer weekend streets of NY.

Friend of the court, in brief–The Trump trials are a downtown happening that keeps Manhattan and indeed the whole country buzzing. First the civil fraud trial in NY Supreme with Judge Arthur Engoron presiding resulted in a $475 million dollar judgment against defendant Trump. He appealed to the Appellate Division First Department requesting that the amount of the bond required to be posted to secure the judgment be reduced, and it was to $175 million. On April 22nd there was a hearing before Judge Engoron about the $175 million surety bond filed by the Trump defendants and collateralized by assets valued at a little over $175 million in a trading account held by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust at Charles Schwab to secure the judgment. Judge Engoron’s $475 million remains intact. Only the bond amount to be posted was reduced.

There were no cameras in the courtroom for the bond hearing. So I reached out to retired Judge Barbara Jaffe, a long-time Upper East Sider, who attended the hearing. She also regularly attended the civil fraud trial. Judges Jaffe and Engoron have similar career paths to the judiciary. Both were principal law clerks In New York Supreme Court. And came on the bench within in a year or two of each other. When Judge Jaffe retired in September 2022, she was free to observe her former colleagues on the bench. And voila. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) against Trump defendants case had been randomly assigned to Judge Engoron, and Jaffe reached out to him to ask how she might observe the ensuing trial. And for those of us who watched the nightly news, we saw Judge Jaffe in the front row at the historic civil fraud trial of an American president.

When it came time for the bond hearing, Jaffe also had a front row seat. And, when word got out, she said and some “20 working hours before the start of the bond hearing,” Jaffe said she heard from Michael Popok of the Meidas Touch Network (MTN), who asked to interview her for his podcast.

Jaffe recounted the day’s exchanges between the Trump defendants’ lead counsel Christopher Kise and the court. After a contentious back and forth and “having seen the way the wind was blowing, the defendants agreed to virtually all of the OAG’s requirements for the bond, such as that the funds would be kept by (Charles) Schwab in an account with all the security of a “lock box” controlled by the insurer and not the [Trump] Trust, and collateralized by cash at a little over $175 million.” To be clear, Trump remains liable, pending his appeal, for the $475 million Engoron judgment. The amount of the bond Trump was required to post was reduced to $175 million by the Appellate Division.

Thanks to Judge Jaffe for sharing her days in the court as a retired judge.