Brooklyn Flea coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park site

Brooklyn Flea will set up under the Brooklyn Bridge this summer — where the lamented Purchase Building used to stand. Eventually, the plaza will sport a skating rink, according to planners of the long-delayed Brooklyn Bridge Park development.
The Brooklyn Paper / Bess Adler

The popular Brooklyn Flea will open a summer home — its third — inside the troubled Brooklyn Bridge Park site starting in June.

The curated crafts, vintage clothing and antiques market will operate on Sundays starting June 14 beneath the Brooklyn Bridge near the corner of Old Fulton and Water streets, a location envisioned as a grand public plaza for the $350-million park and condo project that will stretch along the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO waterfronts.

“We’re over the moon about this,” wrote the Flea’s co-founder Jonathan Butler on his real-estate blog, Brownstoner. “After all, if you’re called the Brooklyn Flea, it’s hard to imagine a more iconic location than right under the most famous bridge in the world.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park officials said the flea market’s reputation would bring thousands of visitors to the park development, which is finally being built, though only partially, after decades of promises. The first permanent sections of the park, at Pier 1, adjacent to the plaza, and Pier 6, at the foot of Atlantic Avenue, are scheduled to open by the end of this year.

“With the Brooklyn Flea located under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, I have no doubt it will continue to build on its reputation as one of Brooklyn’s most-popular weekend attractions while raising the profile of Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Regina Myer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

The Flea secured its first toehold and attracted hordes at Bishop Loughlin HS in Fort Greene last year and expanded with an indoor antiques market in DUMBO during the winter.

The new location, however, has a controversial recent history. Myer’s agency received permission to tear down the landmark Art Deco Purchase Building to make way for the proposed piazza, only to lose control of the site to its actual owner, the city Department of Transportation, which says the tract is needed as a staging area to overdue repairs to the historic bridge.

And Butler’s decision to site a new flea market on the ashes of the Purchase Building is not without some irony: Butler’s blog regularly lamented the demolition of the Depression-era structure.

But bygones are bygones for this summer, at least.

The Department of Transportation said the timing of its repairs and the space allocated to the Flea will not interfere with its needs beneath the bridge for the next few months.

Construction of passive recreation areas will continue through the summer on Pier 1 and Pier 6, which are scheduled to open late this year. More areas of open space are supposedly coming by 2012, but some crucial areas, including playing fields and kayaking cove, are on hold until more government money is procured.

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