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Coming This May: A Big, Arty Bowery Street Festival

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A long-running saga about possibly-pilfered subway signs (and a happy ending!), continuous drama involving graffiti and Lady Gaga at Rag & Bone and so on—It's never boring on the Bowery. So it's no surprise that The Festival of Ideas for the New City, a major collaborative art and design initiative that was born at the New Museum a few years ago, has banded together to bring the city a multi-day Bowery-centric event in May. The mongo blow-out includes innovative art displays and exhibitions (like the roll-down gate art above), a conference (Rem Koolhas—the architect, not the shoe designer—is a keynote speaker) and the special words that always catch our attention: A street festival.

The main mission of the event, which runs from May 4 to May 8, is to "harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore the ideas destined to shape it." Sounds pretty awesome to us, but we need to chat more about this StreetFest, which runs from 11am to 7pm rain or shine on Saturday, May 7 and is completely free and open to the public.

During a press conference earlier this morning, Eva Franch Gilabert, director of the Storefront for Art and Architecture, described the innovative take on a street fair as "not as a traditional space of consumption and display, but a space of provocation, interaction, learning and play." No corn dogs or cheap socks here, folks. Amongst the sustainability, architecture and art installations and demos, StreetFest-goers will also enjoy shopping opportunities from vendors including the {New New} (a.k.a. Etsy's local street team), Kickstarter artisans, Project peaceBOMB bracelets, the New Museum Store and Goldie's Soap.

There will be free activities, too, including a t-shirt silk-screening lesson (and take-home tee!) from Works in Progress NYC and custom-made potion sampling from G.R.E.E.N.H.O.U.S.E. (Grounding Retreat to Enliven, Energize, Naturally Heal and Overcome Undesired Stress Elements.)

With all this learning and shopping excitement, people will need sustenance, of course. We're talking yummy hipster flea market mainstays like People's Pops, Café Habana, Kombucha Brooklyn and Meatless Monday, to name a few.


Check out the Freitag compost bags at the back

One more cool thing: Food, fashion, plus sustainability will all come together at the Freitag Compost Canteen, a team effort from the Freitag brothers (of messenger bag fame) and the Swiss Institute. A temporary soup canteen (using all local ingredients, of course) will be set up in Salon 94 in Freeman Alley and all of the leftover ingredients will be packed into Freitag-branded compost bags. As Bob Holman, the press conference's resident comedian and founder and proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club plugged in a deadpan manner, "Come down, pick up your compost bags—filled with compost—so you can use them to grow our own vegetables on the roof of whatever house you can find handy."

The StreetFest will run along Bowery from Houston to Spring Street, and down Rivington and Stanton Streets. Installations and vendors will also be found in Roosevelt Park between Houston and Rivington Streets. For more information, please visit the Festival of Ideas for the New City website, which will go live on Friday, April 1.

Update: The temporary soup canteen will take place at Salon 94 in Freeman Alley, not at Freemans restaurant as originally reported. Freemans & Freemans Sporting Club will do an as-yet-undetermined promotion along with the festival, but they won't be running a soup kitchen.
· Neon Worms, Festival of Ideas to Take Over the Bowery in May [Curbed NY]
· Festival of Ideas for the New City [Official Site]

Rag & Bone

160 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 718-522-6758 Visit Website

Festival of Ideas for the New City Streetfest

Bowery and Stanton Street, New York NY