Scenes from Downtown’s New DeKalb Market, Made from Old Shipping Containers and Open Daily

Made out of 22 recycled shipping containers, DeKalb Market opened July 23 and is Brooklyn’s newest outdoor market. Found downtown at Fulton Mall (that’s 332 Flatbush Avenue Extension; click here for directions) it encompasses the Brooklyn zeitgeist not just with its cool use of upcycling, but its mix of local eateries, retail shops, an incubator farm and even an Internet radio station, BBox Radio.

At the center of the stores is a huge shaded tent, complete with picnic tables where patrons can wile the hours away and take refuge from the heat with refreshments from Joe the Art of Coffee, Robicelli’s cupcakes–the best in town, in our opinion–Sour Puss Pickles, doughnuts from Cuzin’s Duzin, Cheeky Sandwiches, soul food from Mazie’s Bites (famous for their fish tacos and macaroni and cheese) and Pasticcio, an Italian trattoria. Molicia Crichton, founder of Nile Valley, also serves fresh smoothie and Caribbean inspired organic grub. Meanwhile feel good Frankie Beverly-type jazz and old-school hip-hop pulsate from the turntables of Brooklyn Beats, the record store run by Brooklyn Bodega and Fat Beats. They have the only liquor license on premise, and serve Brooklyn beers and sangria.

DeKalb Market is open year-round, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. While weekends bustle, during the week things are still quiet. However, shop owners are optimistic that once school reopens there will be increased foot traffic from students and office workers around the area who will form their lunch and dinner crowd. And after all, it’s still early days for the DeKalb Market businesses, many of whom are still settling in; painting their logos on the outside of the containers, and testing their food offerings. Pasticcio NYC are awaiting more kitchen equipment, and aim to serve fresh pasta, sauces and mozzarella made on site in a full kitchen in a few weeks, says Nina Maurello, who together with her husband Nicola used to run Pasticcio restaurants in Murray Hill and Queens. Their trial menu comprises of salads, paninis and bruschetta made on a special oven from Italy. They also have a professional grill up and running behind their container where they grill seasonal vegetables, and will morph the area behind their container into a little “courtyard” with picnic tables.

The market is meant to be a launching pad for many fledging vendors who share an entrepreneurial streak. The 60-square-foot salvaged containers serve as their storefronts and also house their dreams of opening a brick and mortar location elsewhere. Permanent vendors include Maharlika, which makes Filipino food, Nile Valley Eco-Juice and Salad Bar (for vegans) and hand-brewed teas from Tea by Tiffany.  At one end of the market stand a line of retail shops that include 3rd Ward, apparel by B66, Harriet’s by Hekima and Honeysuckle & Hearts, Daga Antiques, children’s accessories and clothes by Little Poco and Hank & JoJo, Yak Blak Sunnies & Specs, and a Pratt Institute Design incubator.

On the weekends, a roster of indie craft stalls and food purveyors set up alongside the permanent shops from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Making their debut last week were Happy Bubbles NYC, organic hand-made soaps by Mina Choe and Dreamer Pillow, which makes hand-crafted pillows and T-shirts by Akin Babagil and Ekin Turesay. There’s also For The Love of Pie, which is Dutch apple pie and Austrian cheesecakes by Holland native Marcel Wijma. Sample his signature “Eve’s Pie;” a traditional homemade treat that is not too sweet, “more creamy than average American apple pie,” says Wijma, who also notes his “doughy crust with crunchy edges.”

This innovative concept for a community space is a partnership between Youngwoo & Associates and Urban Space Management, a UK-based developer of specialty retail markets that’s responsible for the Union Square Holiday Market and Camden Lock, London’s famed craft market. The ethos of DeKalb is to function as sustainably as possible, hence the re-purposed containers, and be a resource for the neighborhood as a venue for events, performances and educational activities. The Brooklyn Grange, New York City College of Technology, 3rd Ward, Newton Farm Collective and Malcom X Grassroots are some of the community groups that manage planter boxes that line the periphery of the market. In addition to vendors serving seasonal vegetables grown right in the market, the place will regularly host cooking demos. Also look out for the weekly demos by Teen Battle Chefs, hosted by FamilyCook Productions, a non-profit focused on culinary education.


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