This last weekend marked two major holidays in the US. First, National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. This solemn day of remembrance marks the day that our pilgrim fore-bearers, bringing peanuts from England, met in peace and good-faith with the local natives, who brought indigenous jams, to create the sandwich that would sustain them through the harsh, terrible spring to come.
But this weekend also marked the Brooklyn Flea’s first weekend outdoors. Indeed, the Brooklyn Flea’s re-emergence from indoor hibernation is the hipster version of the monarch butterflies returning to North America after winter, or the annual migration of the swallows of San Juan Capistrano.
The Flea is like any other market, in which wares and goods are sold to patrons looking for a good deal. Or, in the particular case of the Brooklyn Flea, overpriced wares and goods are sold to idiots looking for something to decorate their warehouse space-turned-loft.
The Flea is characterized by three major offerings:
1) Vintage Clothes
3) Esoteric artisanal furniture. This is separate from Americana in that it is made by an artist (or at least a guy who took a welding class at the local JC).
4) Esoteric artisonal foodstuffs, which I don’t have a picture of, but usually are basic things like bacon or chocolate, except made by a twenty-something with a degree in art history and a beard.
It is notable that the Brooklyn Flea also has a specialty of category 1, which is Things with Birds on Them.
If buying overpriced, used things isn’t your cup of tea, then stop by to interact with the colorful proprietors who man the booths.
They’re the Carnies of the Flea, and are almost universally curmudgeonly old townies from upstate.
But while normally the Flea is a fun event full of pretentious and insufferable hipster/douchebags, this year the Flea had a shadow over it. No really, there was an enormous shadow over the whole thing. You see, the Flea decided to move to a new location in Williamsburg and while this will certainly fare well in drawing out more hungover young people out after their 3pm brunches, this does undermine some of the “cred” that these same hangoverers are craving. Consider, first, that the Flea is now in a dirt lot.
Despite most of the men wearing expensive hiking boots, Bean Boots, and workwear, this is probably roughest “roughing it” most of them have done since the time they went to Frontierland with their glee club back when they at Brown.
Further, the Flea is now overlooked by several expensive warehouses-turned-real-estate-cancers like The Edge building.
It’s like Big Brother is watching, if Big Brother had Big Dad’s money to help Big Brother buy a condo.
On the flip side, The Edge’s built-in park provides ample illegal bike parking.
Nonetheless, the Flea can be a fun place, with a good deal or two to be found if you don’t mind going slogging through the bullshit (of course, if you live in New York anyways, this is probably no different than any other interaction, like going to the grocery store, or a bar, or church.) There’s also some legitimately delicious food in and around the Flea. Or, of course, you can bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.