On the block

Most street fairs, at least in Astoria, are fairly standard: whether you're on 36th Avenue or Ditmars, you can bet you'll see mozzarepas, cheap sheet sets, and Time Warner guys trying to sell you on cable. Was there a time when these were a bit more distinct, a better reflection of neighborhood culture? Perhaps, but it seems those days are long gone.

The Japan Block Fair held today was a break from the norm; yes, there were those comforting sweet corn cakes stuffed with mozzarella, but there was also a short stretch of Broadway devoted to Japanese food, crafts, and culture. Very cool; if only it had been a bit bigger! It looks like there will be another such event later this summer in Manhattan -- I could be wrong, but I think this site suggests that on August 21 there'll be vendors and performances around 44th St. and Madison Ave. You should go!