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LIC Flea Owners Planning Outdoor Market on City Lot Near Astoria Park

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 15, 2016 4:30pm
 Chappetto Square, a Parks Department space located on Hoyt Avenue North and 23rd Street.
Chappetto Square, a Parks Department space located on Hoyt Avenue North and 23rd Street.
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DNAinfo/Jeanmarie Evelly

ASTORIA — The team behind Flea & Food markets in Long Island City and Astoria wants to launch a third outdoor venue on a city-owned lot.

The owners approached Community Board 1 earlier this week about potentially using Chappetto Square — a Parks Department space located on Hoyt Avenue North and 23rd Street — to host a market next summer, according to Richard Khuzami, parks committee chair for CB1.

"They're trying to do the same thing they've be doing...in Long Island City and Kaufman Astoria," said Khuzami, referring to LIC Flea's existing markets near the Hunters Point waterfront and at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

"They're looking at next year," he added.

The Astoria Post first reported news of the possible expansion. Josh Schneps, who operates LIC Flea & Food, did not immediately return messages Thursday seeking comment about the plans.

LIC Flea started in 2013, selling food, clothes, crafts and other items in a parking lot in Hunters Point. It has returned each year since then and has expanded to include a beer garden and other features.

The same operators also launched Astoria Flea & Food in 2014, bringing similar vendors to the outdoor lot at Kaufman Astoria Studios. It returned there this summer as a night market for three dates in July.

Unlike these locations, which are privately owned, Chappetto Square is a city-owned park.

The fenced-in space, which contains trees and a flagpole in honor of the World War II veteran the site is named after, is often used by residents for volleyball games and other activities.

Chappetto Square

The Parks Department said it's "open" to helping LIC Flea find a new market location, according to spokeswoman Meghan Lalor.

"We asked them to present their proposal to the Community Board to get their feedback and input and will move forward based on community response," she said in an email.

While LIC Flea discussed the idea at CB1's parks committee meeting on Tuesday, additional details — like how many days or hours a week the market would run — had not been hashed out, according to Khuzami.

The committee is waiting for a more concrete proposal and for feedback from the community before making any recommendation. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.

"Until we get community input, I can't really say," he said.