Market down: Brooklyn Flea bouncing from Williamsburg after less than a month

Brooklyn Flea used to operate out of 50 Kent and returned to Williamsburg this year, only to be banished again.
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It’s a flea for all!

High-end Bric-a-brac bazaar Brooklyn Flea is leaving Williamsburg’s East River State Park less than a month after it moved in because it clogged up the space where people used to sit and enjoy its sister food market Smorgasburg, according to one of its organizers.

“It became clear within a few short weeks that the addition of a second market was preventing us from optimizing the event experience in the world-class way our audience deserves and expects,” said co-founder Eric Demby.

The trinket emporium moved into the Kent Avenue park in April, sharing the waterfront space with Smorgasburg on Saturdays. Organizers set up the Flea on the concrete slabs next to the food stalls which previously housed tables and seating Smorgasburg attendees chilled out and chowed down on their meals — a weekend tradition for some residents and many out-of-towners since 2013.

But the feng shui was thrown out of whack when the bazaar moved in and organizers want to reclaim the space to put everything back in balance, according to Demby.

“We just needed that ‘second slab’ for seating, hanging out, general crowd flow,” he said.

The market — which has occupied several parks since its 2008 inception — is now seeking a new location and will still operate in Dumbo around the Manhattan Bridge archway on Sundays.

The Flea has had a rough relationship with Williamsburg residents over the years — locals complain it directs business from brick-and-mortar shops and takes away valuable green space from April to November. And the addition of Flea on Saturdays took up a large chunk of the meadow, angering one denizen who says the state must start preserving its greenswards.

“I believe strongly that this is our public space and it is important space — we have so little park space here in North Brooklyn,” said Williamsburg resident and former Flea vendor Andre Van Hoek.

Van Hoek added he noticed signs this weekend banning anyone from bringing food or drink into the park, despite it being a public space.

“The signage is really egregious,” said Van Hoek.

But the signs were actually there to let people know they aren’t allowed to bring glass or plastic into the market, according to Demby, who claims Smorgasburg isn’t producing any waste this year and all of the trash goes to a composting facility. Picnickers, he said, can bring in whatever they want.

“The signs give advance notice that glass or plastic items should be disposed of before entering the park and market,” he said.

A parks department spokesman said the signs won’t be back up for future incarnations and green honchos are working with Demby to make sure the wording is clearer.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 5:59 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pay from Williamburg says:
They make millions and community gets nothing. They are backed by Goldman Sachs.
May 3, 2017, 12:24 pm

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