oh the rain, we are at its mercy

May 20, 2013 |  Category:   life nyc the biz










I didn’t think we were supposed to get this much rain this weekend. A few sprinkles or the possibility of rain was forecast, but not such a washout like the kind of rain we had on Sunday. May is a busy month for outdoor events; it signals the start of the outdoor summer season and there was a lot going on in the city this weekend. The weather just wasn’t on our side. Some events, like the Brooklyn Flea and the annual street fair held in our neighborhood are rain or shine, but there was another big, 3 day event held in Prospect Park this weekend that was cancelled at the last minute on Sunday.


As an event goer, a cancellation or rain might be an inconvenience and derail weekend plans, but as a vendor, the weather can make or break us. When the festival at Prospect Park was cancelled, we immediately thought of all our food biz friends who had worked all week prepping food, only to be left with so much of it before the day even got started. It’s an expensive loss. As a business that relies on some of our income to be generated at outdoor markets, we know how frustrating it is when the weather doesn’t cooperate. As luck would have it, we sat out of our usual markets this weekend because of an event on Sunday where Mark was one of the participating Pastry Chefs (The Manhattan Cocktail Classic). But he was out there at the Flea last Saturday in cool, rain threatening weather himself until the clouds finally broke and he had to break down early. You just never know with the weather.
Despite the steady rain, the girls and I pulled on our rain boots and rain jackets to wander around the street fair that they look forward to every year. There were a lot less crowds and there were plenty of empty booth spaces that should have been filled as it is every year when the weather fares better. As a vendor of markets ourselves, it’s hard not to recognize the disappointed faces of vendors as we were walking around. On days like this, you hope that you break even and just cut your losses. Maybe you make a little money, but most likely not enough to cover material and labor costs for the days preceding the event. This would be the best case scenario, to break even. The girls and I did our best to support the vendors who were set up by spreading our money around – a grilled corn on a stick at this booth, a taco at that booth, a corn dog here, a bubble tea somewhere else. There will be other street fairs and outdoor events and while you might win at some, you might lose at others; we’re at the mercy of the weather. Hopefully it won’t rain on Saturday when Mark goes back to the Flea.

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  • Nicole Underwood May 20, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    It would be awful, all that time spent prepping and then have bad weather and a bad turnout. I guess it’s the risk of outdoor vending. Hope the vendors can make up for it next weekend!

  • amy May 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    i can imagine how helpless it is at the mercy of the weather. there’s this place we sometimes go hire a row boat and feed fishes and tortoises, and whenever it rains in the weekends, i thought about the vendors there. wish you good luck and dryness in your upcoming flea market days.

    btw i’m from hong kong and have been following your blog for a while. i love new york (been there once) and love reading your words. sometimes you really speak my mind.

    hang in there!

  • ana May 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I m visiting NY this week from Amsterdam (where it always rains)!
    I can confirm the rain was horrendous on Sunday!!! I was so scared we will have weather like that the whole week, but it improved!

    Jena, on another note, where do u buy salt water sandals in the city?
    Want to get a pair for my girl….

    • Jenna May 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Ana, I have only ever bought them online. Not sure where they sell pairs in the city and now that I think of it, can’t say I recall seeing them in stores…but they must??

  • ana May 21, 2013 at 10:30 am

    Oh, the rain on Sunday! We r here only for a week visiting from Amsterdam where it is always raining….. So, was not very pleased with the weather on the weekend, but it improved:)

    • Jenna May 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      But today it is so hot and humid, meh.

  • Caitlin May 22, 2013 at 12:21 am

    This is all I could think about as I was turned away from the Googamooga festival on Sunday, all those vendors and all of the wasted food and money lost. I hope it wasn’t so bad for you!