I love a good flea market. Getting lost among a crowd of eager shoppers in a sea of endless tables and tents is an adventure in and of itself – my ideal definition of a good time. Maybe it’s the smell of food or the sound of people bargaining; It could be the potentiality of me finding the perfect pair of shoes or the discovery of an old copy of my favorite book. Whatever it is, flea markets are my calling, and no, I’m not a grandma.
Grandmas, however, might be just as excited as I am about the Brooklyn Flea, a New York City attraction started in April 2008 by Jonathan Butler, founder of Brownstoner.com, Brooklyn’s biggest blog, and Eric Demby, former communications director for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.
In a little over 6 years, the dynamic duo has turned the Brooklyn Flea into a mini empire, making as much as $60,000 over one weekend just based on the fees the vendors pay. They operate four markets in Brooklyn every weekend of the year and feature hundreds of vendors who sell anything from furniture to clothing to food. From April through November, the markets take place outdoors on Saturdays in Fort Greene, Sundays in Williamsburg, and on Saturdays and Sundays in Park Slope at PS 321. Then from Thanksgiving through March, the market moves indoors to the former Williamsburg Savings Bank building so that shoppers can continue shopping all year long.
You might have also heard of Smorgasburg, two all-food markets in Williamsburg(operates on Saturdays) and Brooklyn Bridge Park (Sundays), which are likewise operated by Brooklyn Flea! If you have, you’ve probably already tried the Ramen burger, an amazing concoction featuring two bun-shaped tangles of instant noodles in replacement of bread (need I say more?).
With food like that, it’s no wonder the Flea was the recipient of a Certificate of Merit from the Municipal Art Society in 2009. For over six years now, the yearly event has yielded “generous public benefits” and contributed exceptionally to the overall life of New York City.
…maybe THAT is the reason I love flea markets so much. Nah, it’s the food.