Q+A: The Brooklyn Flea
Over the years, the Brooklyn Flea market has become a borough staple, and a favorite of DUMBO locals. We're thrilled to welcome them back to Sundays in DUMBO for another amazing summer season. We sat down with Eric Demby, co-founder of the Brooklyn Flea Market to reflect on the past and talk future as the Flea prepares for its move outdoors.
In your eyes, what makes the DUMBO flea unique from other markets?
We talk a lot about placemaking, but nowhere is it more evident than under the Archway, which gives the Flea a timeless, almost European feel that’s distinct from our other market locations: the dramatic curve, the cobblestones, the warehouse vibe, it’s all very “flea."
What do you enjoy about hosting the Flea in Dumbo? How has the experience been in the past, and what are you looking forward to doing in the future?
Our presence in DUMBO goes back to our earliest years, when we popped up for the winter at 76 and 81 Front St. in 2008, and when we expanded to a second Flea day under the Brooklyn Bridge in 2009 (when Martha Stewart visited), not to mention having our offices at 45 Main until a couple years ago. Its subway and ferry connectivity, the proximity to Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the easy visit for a tourist crossing the bridge all make it a great neighborhood for a market. Our hope for the future is that as DUMBO continues to grow into a larger residential and commercial community, our unique location will make the Flea a hub of the many weekend activities in the area.
What were your favorite vendors this past year that you’d like to highlight?
We love the indigo textiles and wooden sculptures at Hamidou’s Collectible African Art. Nina Z’s Swedish clogs are always a winner, year-in year-out. And the gals at Past Lives Vintage has a special and smart eye for vintage clothing. They’re all in DUMBO with us this year.
Are there any newcomers that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Three of the most popular Smorgasburg vendors are debuting at the DUMBO Flea this year: Jianbing, the scrumptious Shanghai savory crepes; Home Frite, the cones of Belgian-fry love; and Dosa Royale, the delectable healthy-ish Indian crepes. Come out and show ‘em some love!
Anything on the horizon that you would like to spread the word about?
It’s bittersweet, but the Saturday Flea moves to Williamsburg this year, after nine years in Fort Greene. Lots of feelings here, but overall it’s for the best. And if you’re in LA, check out the Smorgasburg there, which is awesome and happens every Sunday downtown.