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Inwood Vegan Market Nixed by Last-Minute City Screwup, Organizers Say

By  Farran Powell and Carla Zanoni | August 28, 2012 11:28am | Updated on August 28, 2012 11:38am

INWOOD —  The Inwood Flea may never serve up its vegan extravaganza, after a city mixup yanked its permission just two days before it was supposed to launch.

Organizer Danielle Ricciardi, who founded the vegan-goods-only market with her partner and boyfriend Daniel Strong, said they had been ready to set up shop Aug. 26 after being given her clearance from the city's Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) in early August. 

But two days before its launch, they got a call from SAPO at 3:45 p.m. telling them that the city made a clerical mistake, marking the fair down as a not-for-profit event rather than a for profit event. The difference would have meant the festival would have to pay $3,100 in daily permiting fees rather than the $70 they had expected, they said.

"We simply can't afford that," Ricciardi wrote in an email.

They said "certain details about the company were overlooked" and that "our application hadn't been thoroughly looked over," Ricciardi added. "What it mostly came down to was our permit was moved through the system too quickly."

According to City Hall spokeswoman Evelyn Erskin, the market withdrew its application late Friday.

The couple. who operate the vegan food company Chickpea and Olive, conceived the idea of holding an open air, vegan flea market after the its success earlier this year when it was held as a fundraiser for Inwood businesses impacted by a massive fire in January

The new weekly market, to be held on West 207th Street and Seaman Avenue. was planned to take place every Sunday through November.

"It was an opportunity for a lot of businesses to start on a small scale and they're not given an opportunity to do it," Strong said of the close to ten local vendors that had signed on to sell their wares at the flea.

Although plans to reschedule the flea are in the works, Strong and Ricciardi said it is unclear when they will be able to reorgaize. 

"We are considering partnering with a nonprofit who will hold the permit for us, but in all likelihood this would mean seeking another location and waiting an additional month for permit approval,"  Strong added. "Our best option is to just wait until February and see if we can get it up and running at a new location some time in April."