Brooklyn Flea And This City Is A Done Deal

Published November 7, 2013 by Larry Fisher

On just about any topic, I get tired of my own argument and start defending my enemy. I did not do well in debates. I realized that everybody has a point of view and if they say their ideas  with enough conviction and mantras, they begin to  believe their own bullshit and then I find I start to  believe  their bullshit as well.

In Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby’s defense, Brooklyn Flea won the bid to run their flea market at P.S.321 however they want to.  They did not have to come talk to any of the vendors and explain the process, they did not have to talk to the manager who was a vendor and manager for 32 years. They did not have to say,”Hey, you guys have been working at this flea market and know this community, and you guys are all born and bred Brooklyn people and the name of our corporation is after all  ‘Brooklyn Flea’ so we may just keep you around to see how things work. We may eventually get rid of you but for the time being you guys know what’s what.”

They did not have to say or do any of those things and they did not, until after the old flea market was ousted  and they realized that they could not fill the place with their  vendors from other locations. Brooklyn Flea had to scramble  and  now allow the  old vendors to work  the otherwise  empty flea market. I laugh at how little money the new vendors  who come in and try out the market make. The Park Slope community can on certain days want everything for a dollar.

Of course, I am disappointed in the old vendors who capitalized on joining Brooklyn Flea and are making out like bandits because they don’t have the usual competition. Eventually, the honeymoon will end.

The irony of the story  about Brooklyn Flea is even the Mafia has better tactics than the arrogance of modern day entrepreneurs. The Mafia comes in and sits you down and tells you how things are going to go down. They always offer you something in exchange for what they want. They are never dismissive in business deals. They understand consequences of even the simplest of men  and always make an offer. You know,”I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse”. They really do that! I have been at that meeting, and I live to write it, but barely… That’s another story.

Brooklyn Flea does not understand that if you don’t make an “offer they can’t refuse”  there can consequences. I don’ t mean that as a threat but am smiling about they day they step on the wrong persons toes. I guess you have to have been born in Brooklyn and raised in the Bronx to understand what they clearly don’t understand

But why don’t they understand that? I guess cause nothing has happened to them, that would make them understand that. It seems to be a contagious form of entitlement in this city.

I wonder what happens when they run into the Mafia and they  don’t make “an offer they can’t refuse” to them. The Mafia can smarten anyone up very quickly. As cut throat as Brooklyn Flea can be, I don’t think they understand some of the underbelly of this city.


Brooklyn Flea taking over Park Slope is a done deal. It doesn’t matter what I think, or if Brooklyn Flea figures out the neighborhood and makes business or not. It just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who makes money and has a good Christmas or if my kids get their Hanukkah presents they want or not.

The issue here was always a bigger picture of a changing City and country. The idea of a flea market being a corporation is embarrassing. A flea market is a community of various people coming together and realizing that they could be an outdoor store of used items; some are junk, some are collectible, and some are antiques. Some junk turns out to be a rare antique, and some antiques turn out to be reproductions. Some people are selling off their dead dad’s pipes, and some people are selling their dead fishes, (not needed anymore) fish tank. It is hard to believe that it is packaged as something to be marketed and trademarked. It’s embarrassing laughable, not for Brooklyn Flea, but for customers who believe the preciousness of it all.

That it can be taken seriously is a marketing genius ploy by Butler and Demby. I am smiling and applauding their  ability to recognize that there are at least two suckers born every minute in this country. Bravo Butler, Bravo Demby… Watch out Brooklyn, Butler and Demby may try to trademark the name Brooklyn, and you won’t be able to say “Brooklyn” anymore. Bye Bye Brooklyn!

I worked Brooklyn Flea when they first started, and they would have all these rules, and be mean spirited to their Vendors in nasty e-mails.

People kill themselves working for people they don’t like or respect because they don’t feel there is any other option.  I worked for Time Inc. for 9 years after graduating College and left to become a Junkman because working for “the man” was  hard on the soul, I thought becoming a junkman would give me some autonomy.

After a couple of years with Brooklyn Flea, I realized that they were worse than working for Time Inc. Time Warner Mitsubishi or whatever the company is called now, seemed like a viable option over “Brooklyn Flea”.

I got out and moved to Paul’s small market in Park Slope.

Instead of charging me money on a rain day, Paul would call me and say,”I don’t think you are going to make money today, stay home.” There was no better  fair businessman than Paul the old manager of P.S.321. And I can say that he became my friend even as he was still my boss for the day.

I have only met vendors who hate the management of Brooklyn Flea. I mean seriously hate. They stay because they have to.  They keep their mouth shut for now, but if the revolution ever goes down, Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler should watch out for the antique pitch and forks heading their way.

One day, the Brooklyn Flea vendors will not have to work  for people they hate. Brooklyn Flea will sell the Corporation and move on to something a little more lucrative than trying to market junk. I can only imagine their blue print for the future.

I am here to tell New York, there could be a flea market every weekend in every school yard. You could make money for supplies and extra teachers. Brooklyn Flea will run a bunch of those flea markets, and other people like Paul will run the good ones.

Go start your own flea market. Make it a community getting together and working together for some extra presents for the kids on the holidays and some more teachers in the schools, or to support your artistic lifestyle and not some rich kids who are rooking you out of even affording to pay your rent.


8 comments on “Brooklyn Flea And This City Is A Done Deal

  • Believe it. Remember when you had to “seek permission” from the right people to open certain types of business in Brooklyn? I had an ex boyfriend that thought he could just go into the scrap hauling business. His truck was burnt to a crisp inside of his first 48 hours in business, because he didn’t make a deal first. He knew it was dumb, and he paid. A different world. Well worlds collide sometimes still, don’t they?
    This whole racket that Denby and Butler have with the city and state smells like rotten fish. The public space giveaway to put a fucking yupster food court and overpriced bauble-fest in a state park every weekend is obscene. Not obscene good, either. It’s not even a market that in any way helps locals other than the well-heeled newbies. I won’t go on, even though I could hate on these sonofabitchs forever. Your words vindicate every bad thought I’ve ever had about them. I like that you also offered encouragement for other people to just do it the old fashioned way, sans New Brooklyn branding. I couldn’t agree more. Hope things work out as you want them to.

  • LOVE this. My grandmother (Betty, RIP) a teeny tiny Asian woman ran her own shop for many years. The bigger she got, the better they liked her. They treated her like gold and vice versa. She also didn’t take any lip, and she was respected for that. She wouldn’t sell things she thought had little to no value, but she did give a lot of things of value away to folks in need.

    I love and miss her much. She would have given these two numbskulls an earful… then she’d have gone out and done exactly as you said – started her own market.

    I’m enjoying your blog. Thanks.

  • Larry Google Brooklyn Flea and East River State Park and Google Brooklyn Flea and Goldman Sachs. Contact Joe Lentol the state assemblyman for the area and Eric Adams your state Senator. If you have the time get all your people to call the Governor office and when deblasio is mayor contact him.

  • Please Google Brooklyn Flea and Brooklyn Paper. Get as many of your friends residents to contact as many local state officials as you can.

    You are not alone.

  • I agree-take the corporate out of the flea. However, the city of New York has made it clear that is wants to turn a profit as the Disneyland of the Northeast, clean, albiet expensive, fun for the visiting masses. This in turn allowed a culture of $150 vendor spaces that churns out what most natives* feel are overpriced goods. And yet, everyone is still willing to drop $100 on the latest NYTimes reviewed restaurant, $3500 for the hottest neighborhood apartment, why not a $250 vintage light that they cleverly ‘beat down’ the poor vendor to a brag-over-cocktails-price of $180?
    Note:I am soooo sorry for the inconvenance to the $10,000 a month loft dwellers that have had their peace shattered on the weekend. We will turn it back over to the needle park, pronto. (This is directed at you, strange boy-man in shorts that drags his 7 year old daughter around on Sunday mornings to scold vendors for parking violations. Sorry girlie, your Dad’s a douche)

    To be clear, I’m a vendor, and I agree with every snot-observed policy that the Brooklyn Flea has been accused. Good for them, they took advantage of social media and the internet to build a brand. Next. Check the weather from the last two weeks-the only one making money is the Flea. This hasn’t been lost on the vendors. It will be their unforgiving policies that turn them into a ‘has been’, not an uprising from self-rightous 9-5ers that want to whine about not living in the middle of buttfuck Egypt and having peace and quiet with their $1 coffee and $20 mid century modern coffee table.

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