The ever-popular Brooklyn Flea is abandoning its location at East River State Park in Williamsburg, less than a month after moving in.
“At the beginning of April, the Flea moved to Williamsburg from Fort Greene on Saturdays, and 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,” Brooklyn Flea co-founder Eric Demby said in an email.
The park is also used for Smorgasburg, which Demby also operates, and the Brooklyn Flea was reportedly cramping the style of hungry hipsters who just showed up to chow down on foods from a panoply of chefs.
“Smorgasburg has operated safely and successfully at East River State Park since 2013 using what we call ‘the second slab’ — a large cement pad right next to Smorgasburg — for seating and socializing,” Demby said. “The market is as popular as ever, and everyone needed that area to create a comfortable environment.”
But the appearance of Brooklyn Flea, which was founded in 2008 and reportedly attracted 10,000 to 20,000 shoppers per week, also resulted in gripes from locals who felt it was adding to overcrowding in the trendy neighborhood.
“The last thing I want to see in the neighborhood are squished crowds; I see those every day on the subway on my way to work. I’d rather stare at the waterfront,” said resident Astrid Harders. “That flea market seemed more like a hangover spot than antique or artisan gems. I once saw a pony-sized, pink Plexiglas elephant standing around, scratched vinyl records and broken ceramic tea cups. I had no need for any of those.”
Others said they hoped the disappearance of the flea market will alleviate crowding in the area.
“I visited it a few times but was never a great fan of this market,” said Magdalena Mazurek. “I always found it super-commercial, with very little flea-marketlike feel. Walking on the sidewalk by East River Park will be a bit easier now. Normally, it is crowded on Saturdays.”