On Saturday afternoon, a lot on the corner of Essex and Hester streets in Manhattan's Lower East Side bustled with vendors hawking omelets, boys eyeing bicycles and ladies slipping in and out of vintage dresses at the new incarnation of the Hester Street Fair.
Hester was the place to be and be seen on a warm-weathered day in 1895, with the New York Times noting, "There is hardly a square foot of ground in Hester Street that is not covered with people during the day. The whole place seems to be in a state of perpetual motion, and the occasional visitor is apt to have a feeling of giddiness."
Over time, the retailers relocated, leaving the lot vacant for at least the last 30 years--until MTV News Correspondent SuChin Pak (pictured), her brother Suyhun, and their partners Adam Zeller and Ron Castellano heard that the local co-op board was looking for a way to use the space.
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"[We] had been dying to do a flea market for years in the Lower East Side, but couldn't get a space, so it was really just a crazy coincidence and serendipity and the whole thing just kind of came together last minute," SuChin told The Huffington Post. "This is what I really wanted. I wanted a place where every weekend I could just get all of the things I needed for the rest of the week."
Sixty vendors set up shop on Saturday, with a breakdown of 30 percent food, 60 percent vintage clothes and 10 percent either crafts or jewelry, plus a kids' space and a community booth. SuChin said that she didn't have to really reach out to vendors; they came to her.
"It was crazy," she explained. "If you imagine that every little booth here is an entrepreneur that wants to make a living doing what they love and what they're passionate about, that energy coming together is why there were 500 people here in the first half hour."
Next weekend, the Hester Street Fair will hold a giant spring clean day, asking all of the neighborhood kids to drop off items, and on Mother's Day, vendors will partner with the Susan G. Komen Cancer Awareness Foundation, selling pink merchandise and baked goods. Come June, Union Square's farmers market will bring its produce down to Hester. And that's just the beginning of what SuChin and her team have in store.
The Fair will be held through December, every Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, head over to HesterStreetFair.com.