Sunday, July 27, 2008

Brooklyn Flea's Stormy Week

The Brooklyn Flea has been cooking along since April at a steady, upbeat pace. But this week, things took a stormy turn.

It seems to me, as a regular vendor, that everyone's happy the Flea has come to Ft. Greene, but evidently there are a select few who feel otherwise. They let their grievances (and their vitriol) be heard at a meeting on Thursday night held at the church across the street from where the Flea is held each Sunday.

Seems like the main complaint is that Flea vendors are taking up all the good street parking spaces that used to be the sole province of locals and parishioners. It also appears that some find the hubbub of non-church activity patently unacceptable on the Christian Sabbath. Mostly, though, it seems like some people just can't deal with change.

The issue has been covered extensively in everything from the New York Times to the Daily News to Gawker. The coverage, some of it laughably one-sided, has produced some amusing headlines. I swear the headline on the clipping from the Daily News circulating among vendors today read "Hipsters vs. Old-timers," but that's not what it says on their website. In any case, they say there's no such thing as bad publicity.

As of now, there is no resolution to the discontent, and efforts by Flea organizers Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby (pictured top) to extend a neighborly hand have been summarily rebuffed.

As if to underline the point, gusty wind and heavy rain swept into Brooklyn at around 2:30 and washed us out early today. It was pretty nasty packing up in midst of the storm, and it resulted in disappointing returns on our efforts for the day.

The wind also lifted the Flea organizer's tent off the ground and blew over the tall fence surrounding the market, landing comically legs up on top of another tent where it couldn't be dislodged. (Wind can be pretty rough on tents if you don't have sandbags or bricks weighing them down.) That's Demby at the left gamely standing atop a table and holding on while others went for help.

So it's been a stormy few days for the Brooklyn Flea. But if what happened to Demby's tent today can be taken as an omen, it will all blow over soon enough...

Posted and bottom image by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.
Top image by the New York Times.

1 comment:

shawn said...

I just finished reading the NY Times article, and it reads like a publicity piece to me... The author spends a good amount of time talking about Jonathan Butler and, and not a whole lot about the community.

I bet if someone were to do a survey in Ft. Greene about the things they're "furious" about, the Flea would rank pretty low. I mean, there's a construction of a 30+ story condo coming up on DeKalb that is causing traffic jam and making our everyday morning path to the subway station some kind of obstacle course - a whole lot more menacing and dangerous than a horde of people going to the Flea on Sundays.