News came earlier this week that Bushwick flea market the Shwick Market of Makers would be closing after less than a year in business. The Brooklyn Paper reported that despite the fact that the Shwick opened up last fall to “great fanfare,” the market has now closed, due in no small part to “its hidden location, in a graffiti-covered garage on a dead-end street near the corner of Myrtle and Willoughby avenues,” as well as the fact that it was “ultimately too remote to draw many visitors, and the customers who did show up didn’t have much cash to splash,” as per one of the market’s owners.
Co-owner Chris Carew—who founded the market with his wife, Jinyen—also told the Paper that other reasons for the market’s demise revolved around the fact that there wasn’t much else to do in the area, and the reality that Bushwick residents really only spend money on three things “beer, coffee, and rent.”
This gave us pause, because while at first we silently wondered to ourselves, “But what about beard oil? What about scrunchies for man-buns? WHAT ABOUT MONOCLES?” We quickly realized that maybe there was some truth to this, and that maybe Bushwick residents do only spend money on the holy trifecta of beer, coffee, and rent. And, well, what of it? Rent, obviously, is going to eat up the majority of most Bushwick (and Brooklyn, in general) residents’ incomes, because that whole “only spend 30% of your money on rent” dictum is a fucking joke when it comes to New York City and its astronomical real estate costs. And then beer and coffee fall in the category of tiny luxuries in which those of us who don’t make a ton of money but feel like we want to splurge anyway allow ourselves to regularly indulge.
But you know what it seems like we’re not willing to indulge in anymore? The kind of stuff that we don’t need and that will just clutter up our now-Marie Kondo-ized lives. Or, in other words, the kind of stuff that can be found at local flea markets. As the Brooklyn Paper points out, even though some flea markets still appear to be thriving, others, like the Shwick, are shutting down en masse, possibly because the kind of people who have enough disposable income to spend on flea market goods are sticking to the big time markets like the Brooklyn Flea, and the rest of us who don’t have tons of extra money lying around aren’t willing anymore to spend it on stuff we don’t need, stuff that we’ll probably just want to sell at our own stoop sales not long after we buy it. All of which is why it’s probably not untrue that most Bushwick residents are choosing to spend their money on things like beer and coffee, which might be indulgences, sure, but whose ephemeral presence in our lives won’t haunt us like shelves full of “musty vintage denim and jewelry fashioned out of old vinyl records” surely would.
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