Is the Brooklyn Flea in Danger?

Leticia James: Fighting for the Flea. Photo: Newscom

A post on the listserv Fort Greene Kids this morning caught the eye of an Intel spy: It appears that Brooklyn Flea, which just opened in April, is already in danger!

Leticia James stopped by my stoop sale yesterday and said she needed my help to save the Brooklyn Flea Market. Apparently the large church on Vanderbilt & Lafayette along with some FG residents are meeting this week to try to shut it down. This will be their third meeting, each one growing in number.

What? Why in tarnation would the church want to shut down the Flea? Do they think because it’s a place where young people get together to dance and listen to music and get loose with the hooch — or, um, eat sticky buns and shop for crafts — that it will destroy the morals of the youth? Is it that it is too much fun, Goddamn it?

Not quite.

Jonathan Butler, the Brownstoner blogger and founder of the Flea, confirmed that they were having some problems with the community, and although he was unclear about exactly what the problem was, it was pretty clear the tussle has something to do with that old bogeyman, gentrification. "Personally, I am saddened that those opposing the Flea seem bent on creating division around an event that is truly a multicultural, modern-day town square," he said in an e-mail.

We view the market as an example of the community's diversity and creativity. With over 150 vendors a week, roughly 3/4 of whom are Brooklyn-based, the Flea is an incubator for a variety of local small businesses; the market also generates income for a school that is a fixture in the community, part-time employment for 15 people and economic stimulus for an entire neighborhood.


The meeting will be held Thursday, July 24, at 7 p.m. at the Queen of All Saints' Roman Catholic Church at Lafayette and Vanderbilt.

Related: Let's Get Ready to Jumble! [NYM]