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Bargains and bellyaching at Brooklyn Bridge Flea Market

The Brooklyn Paper
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Never deny a New Yorker’s God−given right to complain about living in the city.

The Brooklyn Bridge Flea Market drew hordes of vendors and shoppers looking for a bargain last Sunday, but it also drew its share of critics living across the street at 4 Water Street.

“I had a serious problem with it,” said one resident, who didn’t want to give her name. “I will give them a little benefit of the doubt, but at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning I don’t like to be awakened like a carnival came to town. They blocked the whole of Water Street loading in like a bunch of carneys and at 6 p.m. It was the same thing when they loaded back up, and they blocked the street.”

The resident was one of several that came to a meeting at Borough Hall last week to discuss the development of Brooklyn Bridge Park and other projects going on in DUMBO.

The resident complained there was loud music at the Flea Market from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and also had pointed criticism for the development of the 85−acre Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“We’re all for a park but why does it have to be an active park? Why does New York City always have to be on crack? Why can’t a park be a park with solitude, peace, beauty and reflection so people can think and wind down and get back to nature,” the resident said.

The residents said they spoke to Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation President Regina Myer, who promised them a meeting with flea market entrepreneurs Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby.

The two also run the Fort Greene Flea Market, which drew neighbor complaints last year that have since been resolved.

Butler said Myer contacted him via email and he is planning to reach out to tenants at 4 Water Street.

“We provide ourselves in running a tight ship and have an excellent track record in Fort Greene,” said Butler. “We have four security guards on duty at all times and one of their primary roles is directing traffic.”

Butler said he was personally at the Brooklyn Bridge Flea Market from 7 a.m. and throughout the day and can’t recall a single honking horn, car alarm or even a raised voice.

The music didn’t start until noon and with over 100 vendors all of the logistics were handled with great planning and care, he said.

“We have found in Fort Greene that there’s some that had significant complaints, which we bent over to address and there’s those who just don’t like a flea market disturbing their Sunday. If people just don’t out of hand want it, there’s nothing we can do,” Butler said.

Myer said opening the Brooklyn Bridge Plaza for public use this summer was a priority, and the BBPDC worked closely with the city’s Department of Transportation, Department of Design and Construction, and the Parks Department to use the space.

“The Brooklyn Flea helps support hundreds of small businesses, and has attracted upwards of 10,000 visitors a day to its Saturday location in Fort Greene, to Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO,” said Myer.

“We are thrilled to host the Brooklyn Flea this summer and give the public a preview of what an eye−catching destination Brooklyn Bridge Park will be for tourists and New Yorkers alike,” she added.

Myer did not disclose at press time what vendors are charged for the use of space, or the deal the BBPDC made with Butler and Demby to host the flea market.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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