A Cyclops With Horse Blinders

Published October 29, 2013 by Larry Fisher

My enemies keep me focused.

Brooklyn Flea is my enemy, I would celebrate their failure. Wait a second, I do celebrate their failure. Oh sure, they make money from their vendors, and they are growing exponentially; they now have Flea Markets in Philadelphia, and D.C. but they are so hated by their vendors that I see their empire as growing and folding in on themselves at the same time.

I was told yesterday that the misplaced Vendors of P.S.321 were asked by Brooklyn Flea to come join their venture in Park Slope after they fairly won the bidding for the right to sell in the schoolyard.

We were actually asked to apply as vendors. We were told  there was a waiting list and that by applying, we could be on that list. So, Paul who has been the manager for 25 years at P.S. 321 could apply to be on a waiting list with the rest of us. Nicely done Brooklyn Flea, you know how to make friends.

Paul is the heart of the old flea market. He is a brilliant cartoonist who always acted fairly towards the Vendors. If he understood that no money was made, he would knock down the price of the day from 40 to as little as 20 bucks. He would call me and tell me not to show up if it was a dud of a day. He always wanted me and the Vendors to make money. He would make signs for my merchandise and tell me when I was underselling an item. He became a friend and not just some money grubbing insect.

I worked at Brooklyn Flea, for a few years, Their policies of rain continuously changed, but in the end if it rained, I had to pay a 60 dollar  rain fee(Brooklyn Flea has to make money no matter what)

There wasn’t even  consideration to vendors getting to the market the week after Hurricane Sandy. I heard of a Vendor from Staten Island who couldn’t make it and was charged.

Brooklyn Flea: Bottom Line Guys. The City is made up with “Bottom Line Guys. They are not my people. They are not the people I have made movies and art with in this city for 30 year. Mob guys I have hung out with are more fun;way more fun… and less scary as well.

When I think of the narrow mindedness of Brooklyn Flea, I have this absurd vision of a huge Cyclops which wears horse blinders made of money. I know, it’s a weird vision, but it is kind of funny. I bet ,now you will only think of a Cyclops which wears Horse blinders, whenever you go to the Brooklyn Flea. I’ve got to get Paul to do this cartoon. I must prod him like Harvey Pekar prodded Crumb to do his “American Splendor.”

You know, the displaced Vendors of P.S. 321 who have ventured out and are trying to make a go of a new flea market at 20th Street, between 4th and 5th Avenue in  South Slope, are just  trying to move forward and forget about Brooklyn Flea. The past can be great, because it’s gone.

The growing giant Corporation of Brooklyn Flea are just guys who know how to make money. They know how to weed through their waiting list of Vendors, and cherry pick for their Artisinal crowd of wealthier customers. (There is an 18 buck lobster roll you can get.)

Eventually, they will move on to another schoolyard in another city and this is the real question to them: Why would you have to come to a small neighborhood schoolyard in your own hometown and bid on a flea market? Why wouldn’t you go to another location in that area, even another schoolyard and start fresh? How could you not understand that taking over a flea market by born and bred New Yorkers, most from Brooklyn, (including myself) would not get under our skin? Our flea market was about selling cool stuff cheaply, in a relaxed atmosphere, without a twenty page contract to sign in order to sell junk,

The Chelsea area in the 1990’s had 3 or 4 different flea markets with different owners within a two block radius.

Having an area with the same kind of stuff is a positive aspect to any business, think of the Garment District, The Diamond District, The Musical Instrument District on 48th street. I certainly hope when we open our flea market in Ft. Greene, a couple of blocks away from Brooklyn Flea Ft. Greene, that we will be able to work side by side and share our customers graciously. We would never think of taking over your market in Ft. Greene.


Looking forward to see how Brooklyn Flea spins this episode.

The world is a tough place. We have government failures, environmental hazards; it is a tough world to deal with, and so some misplaced misfits who can’t sell in their original  location doesn’t really amount to much.

The great thing about the past is that it is gone, and the hard thing about the past is to try to stop reliving it. It is a new city, not the one I grew up in. It is not Brooklyn anymore, it is Brooklyn Flea.






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