One of my favorite nice-weather weekend activities is wander around one of the great outdoor markets that have popped up all over town these past few years, goofing with friends, chatting with local artisans and bakers and shopkeepers, eating my face off. SO much more fun than waiting on line somewhere for yet another brunch!
The great Brooklyn Flea, whether in Fort Greene or Williamsburg, is the most popular of this new breed of gathering grounds, but Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn, launched last summer and reopened for the season recently, is almost the Flea’s equal in terms of food and shopability, and its superior when it comes to special events. I went on a recent Saturday and, as is usually the case at such venues, had a blast.
There is much to recommend about Downtown Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market, starting with its design. Rather than gridded rows of temporary tents, the Dekalb Market is sort of a rambling mall, with the stores and restaurants operating within repurposed shipping containers; combined with a picnic area, with plenty of communal tables set up in the shade and sun; combined with an outdoor event space / dance floor, so the whole place always feels pretty festive and lively.
The retail outfits and eateries housed in the shipping containers are there from now through the winter holiday season, six (or is it seven?) days a week starting in May; weekends-only through April. But there are also a couple dozen rotating booths and kiosks scattered throughout the Dekalb Market, so repeat visitors (like me) will always find something new.
A few of my favorite food spots at the Dekalb Market’s opening weekend include the excellent Robicelli’s, which, among their other delightful baked goodies creations, are a strong contender for serving the best cupcakes in NYC. I had the rarely-made, truly spectacular Chicken and Waffle cupcake, drizzle of maple syrup on top (which they promise to bring back), as well as a Matzoh Toffee monster, and both were delicious.
Little Muenster was cranking out their signature awesome grilled cheeses, Mighty Balls was bringing the meat, and Arancini Brothers had the stuffed fried rice balls market covered. And, this year, the Dekalb Market is selling beer and wine.
As far as shopping goes, the Dekalb Market has a ton of high-end-ish gifty things, from the charming baskets and bells at Eleanor’s “Stylish Bicycle Accessories for Ladies”, and the cute and cuddly cashmere monsters at the Snuggly stand, and the cool-kid stuff at the returning Hank and JoJo.
And there are always special events, sales, workshops and performances going on all summer long. Recently there was a petting zoo, gospel singers, and (extremely popular) $1 mimosas; upcoming highlights includes lobster boils (courtesy of Red Hook Lobster Pound), square dances, and a roller derby.
The Dekalb Market is located on the corner of Willoughby Street and the Flatbush Avenue Extension, within easy walking distance of the F, G, N, Q, R, A, C, B, D, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains. You can check out their website; the Urban Space blog also has information.
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