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Park Slope gone to the Flea! - Brooklyn Paper

Park Slope gone to the Flea!

Orders up: Vendor Domingo Sosa of Fonda restaurant dished out Mexican fare to customer Lynne Tuccillo at the opening day of Brooklyn Flea’s new outpost at Park Slope’s PS 321 playground on Oct. 12.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

There’s a new flea in Park Slope, and it had Brooklyn written all over it.

The hugely popular Brooklyn Flea debuted its new Park Slope weekend outpost on Saturday at Seventh Avenue’s PS 321 playground, replacing a beloved neighborhood flea market that operated out of the space for decades.

The ever-growing outdoor market that famously caters to hipsters took over a smaller, old-fashioned flea market that boasted a range of vintage wares at the elementary schoolyard for at least 20 years, but founders of the much-touted Flea said that the new location will be more low-key than other Brooklyn Flea outposts and even keep some of the longtime antique vendors.

“Our expectation is that it will be a more local attraction and a more local clientele,” said Brooklyn Flea co-founder Eric Demby, who added that the school playground between First and Second streets only has room for roughly 40 vendors, making it significantly smaller than the Flea’s other outposts that have more than 100 sellers.

Demby said that the Park Slope outpost most likely wouldn’t turn into a crowded tourist destination that the Brooklyn Flea’s locations in Fort Greene and Williamsburg have bloomed into over the years — and he and his partner Jonathan Butler are totally fine with that.

“It’s a fifth of the size of the other locations — it can’t even get that crowded,” said the Prospect Heights resident who used to shop and browse through items at the former PS 321 weekend flea market.

The Park Slope outpost will run from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. It will close the last weekend before Christmas and reopen in mid-March, said Demby, adding that the Brooklyn Flea has a two-year contract with the Department of Education to use the city-owned space.

Round and round: Record vendor Evan Jones sold classic albums.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Opening weekend of the Brooklyn Flea in Park Slope boasted about 35 vendors selling artisan crafts, antiques, jewelry, records, and other vintage wares, and just one food vendor from Fonda, which is different from other Flea locations that typically boast big foodie selections.

“We’re trying to maintain a low profile with the food out of respect to the neighborhood restaurants,” said Demby.

Park Slopers said they were glad that to see that the Brooklyn Flea re-branded itself as a fixture in the neighborhood, even though they were sad that the long-running PS 321 flea market go the way of the dodo.

“It’s a great addition to the neighborhood,” said Rachel McPherson, who browsed through Turkish pillowcases and silk prints on opening day. “But I do hope they include some of the old vendors.”

The Brooklyn Flea empire recently expanded with outposts in Philadelphia and Washington, joining its Brooklyn locations in Fort Greene at Lafayette Avenue between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues, which runs on Saturdays, and in Williamsburg at East River State Park, which runs on Sundays.

Brooklyn Flea at PS 321, 180 Seventh Ave. between First and Second streets in Park Slope, www.brooklynflea.com. Saturday and Sundays, 10 am–5 pm.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Local branding: Founders of the popular Brooklyn Flea say their new outpost at Park Slope’s PS 321 playground will have more of a local neighborhood feel.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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