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Smorgasburg Will Not Return To Long Island City

joe Dipace

April 21, 2016 By Christian Murray

The owners and operators of Smorgasburg Queens will not come back to Court Square this year.

The market, which opened to much fanfare last July, did not generate the foot traffic that its owners had hoped.

“We had good vendors but it was tough getting traffic over summer,” co-founder Jonathan Butler said.

Smorgasburg held the market across the street from Rockrose’s LINC LIC building at 43-29 Crescent St. They had use of an old building and the empty outdoor lot next to it.

Location of market

Location of market

The operators made a particular focus of creating a market comprised of Queens-based food vendors representing a broad range of nations. This was the only Smorgasburg in Queens.

The market was open only on Saturdays and there were typically 20 to 30 food vendors.

Butler said it was a good experience operating the Queens market but it did not make good business sense. He and his business partner Eric Demby operate Smorgasburg markets in Brooklyn. They also founded the Brooklyn Flea.

Butler did not rule out coming back to the neighborhood, although he noted that the LIC Flea & Food is already in Hunters Point and it would make no sense to open one there.

Jonathan Butler (middle)

Jonathan Butler (middle)

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Sam is right, I spoke with the front desk of the Linc Building and I was told that several complants where made and at one time the police came out to speak with the organizer. Apparently the group is called the Greenwell Activists Community in which I looked it up on Google are they are group of consisting primarily of artists in which the leaders names are Pearl, Henney and Biggie. I was reading some posts about the group and it kinda sounds like they’re a cult with drug themed parties.


I hope that the event held April 23rd in the lot wasn’t the owners attempting to find new revenues with the absence of smorgasbord. I don’t understand how they got away with playing loud music until 6am Sunday morning.


The event was a held by a religious group from north of the city. They have a contract to hold 6 events this summer so you need to mind your own business and stop being a judgemental prick.


Religious or not, loud music until 6am is not on, you need to wind your neck in, cockbag!

LIC resident

The venue was not stroller friendly (because of the pebbled ground)! I went with my family with high expectations but got rejected at the entrance. In an area with so many families with young children this had to have hurt their bottom line.


We went once with our kids and got a bad vibe too and didn’t buy anything. No one seemed very friendly or even interested in selling their food. Just like they felt too cool to be there.


The idiots were bound to fail since day one going against another flea market few blocks down…in the end, traffic was unnecessarily divided among two markets….as much as I’d like the idea as opposed to the awful lic brunches that some of the weird restaurants in the neighborhood offers, it makes no sense


Anon, I would actually disagree with your statement, as a foodie, there’s more new local restaurants opening up than in any other neighborhood I see and even now, theres many joining into this area with great culinary backgrounds and are not large box restaurants. Examples include Ramen Mu, Tamashi, Bia, M Wells Dinette and even M. Wells Steakhouse next to where Smorgasbord was located.

The failure on Smorgasbord had less to do with it being in long island city and more to do with location and execution. Smorgasbord came in a year or two after LIC Flea in a lesser weekend area location. Their location is very much an office area with small traces of residential though by next year or after once all completed will be filled up residentially. To add, the last few times I went, there was only a handful of seating, less vendors than LIC Flea and didn’t even serve coffee! Now how you create a weekend event space with no vendors serving coffee was beyond me.

Had they did another location or even opened during weekdays when traffic is significantly higher due to offices nearby, it can be a success or increasing vendors in the area and tables that could’ve been a success as well.

In the end, a lot of oversight was made which caused failure.


Too Early? Early is when the great things happen. It’s already too late for the creative, unique and genuine to happen. Sorry LIC but you mist it. Chipotle is on its way and the rest of the lame will follow including another shitty concept from the Shi brothers. Credit goes to them for taking risk and grabbing opportunity but shame on a neighborhood for thinking its any good.


Unfortunately they came in too early. Give it a year or two and the population boom in that area will be enormous.


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