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Business Group Looks to Revive 'Daylife' Along Orchard Street

An artist generated image of the Lower East Side BID's proposed events to bring commerce back to Orchard Street.
An artist generated image of the Lower East Side BID's proposed events to bring commerce back to Orchard Street.
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Lower East Side BID

LOWER EAST SIDE — More details on the plan for an Orchard Street revival were unveiled by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District at a Community Board 3 meeting Wednesday night.

What was once a thriving thoroughfare, Orchard Street is now in the shadow of empty storefronts as rents increase and local businesses move out. The LES BID plans to restore the area with a series of unique Sunday events that involve the participation of local restaurants, music and even skateboard demonstrations and lessons.

"It's unlike any other event in New York City," said Bob Zuckerman from the LES BID, who presented the detailed plans to CB3’s Economic Development Committee.  "I'm hoping it will be a really festive atmosphere."

Zuckerman emphasised the events will be different from many of the other mundane streets fairs around the city that often have almost identical vendors at each.

"We didn't want it to look like a regular street fair," Zuckerman told DNAinfo. The BID is working with multi-disciplinary design firm DUB Studios on the project, coining the event name "Daylife," a play on the still-thriving nightlife of the Downtown neighborhood.

The first "Daylife" event has been scheduled for June 3 between noon and 5 p.m, with the hope of creating a Sunday afternoon B.B.Q feel, according to Zuckerman. If the initial event is successful then five or six others will be organized for the Fall with potential for more in the future. About 36 vendors will line Orchard Street, stretching from Delancey to Houston streets, with priority for vending spots given to shops already located along the strip.

"We're calling it an urban backyard,” said Zuckerman. “Most people in the city don't have backyards.”

Another feature of the event will be what Zuckerman called "modern-day pushcarts." These self-contained wooden boxes on wheels will have the capacity to open up to a fully functioning stand with detachable counters, umbrellas and even AstroTurf for the ground.

While the BID did not require approval from the committee, Susan Stetzer, the district manager for CB3 said all on the committee "thought [it was a] great plan and exciting."

For Zuckerman, the vision is for the area's return to a "town square" feeling.

"That’s what Orchard Street used to be," he said.