Out & About in the Brooklyn Borough

Out & About in the Brooklyn Borough

Out & About in the Brooklyn Borough 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

Brooklyn, one of New York City’s five boroughs, presents an interesting mix of young and old, and different points of view, which mirrors both the established and independent nature of the area’s retail and food scene. This irresistible and uber trendy mecca brings together some of the best of what New York has to offer (and a few hipsters too).

Brooklyn Flea

In its 8th year of operation the Brooklyn Flea in Williamsburg is not only a big tourist attraction, but also a highly coveted experience for the local community. With over 100 vendors of vintage clothing, furniture, collectibles and antiques, as well as handmade products by local artisans and designers you can begin to imagine why this outdoor market creates such a draw.

While slightly smaller than the flea you’ll find in Dumbo, in Williamsburg you’ll be impressed by the seriously curated assortments, like a shop that only sells baseballs and gloves, to one that only sells antique metal typography letters. There’s nothing super fancy about the set-up, mostly just little pop-up tents, but you could appreciate the selectiveness with the merchandise that felt true to a story that they each presented.


The New York Times said it best in describing this unique Brooklyn Flea food experience, “Smorgasburg, the open-air market held every Saturday in an empty lot on the Williamsburg waterfront is like a summer rock festival for food; exciting, overwhelming, sweaty, hot. You’ll hit your limit, and then you’ll want some more.”

On a Saturday afternoon around 1:30 we found ourselves surrounded by thousands of people, you could barely walk, but you wanted to see everything. From fresh oysters being shucked before you and slurped down with complete strangers to a heaping sandwich filled with fresh, fried anchovies, Smorgasburg offers every possible ethnic creation you could imagine and some that were so far fanciful you’d only find in a foodies’ dream.

Jane Motorcycles

Just two years old, Brooklyn’s Jane Motorcycles presents a fresh perspective on a custom motorcycle shop. Founded by Adam Kallen and Alex DiMattio this hybrid concept is comprised of everything they enjoy—motorcycles, coffee, food, fashion, and art. Even an outside sign outside, “Free espresso with the purchase of a motorcycle,” pokes fun at the irony of all the elements in one.

What makes this concept work is the inclusiveness. You don’t have to be a hard-core biker to connect with the brand. Even the brand name “Jane” feels approachable. From the impeccable design of their apparel to the custom build of the bikes to the partners they align with its clear their passion is present and meticulous curation is at the core of this creation.

Space Ninety Eight

Space Ninety 8 serves as a five-story space that brings together the best of Brooklyn’s art, shopping, dining and events to create one highly curated, community space brought to you by Urban Outfitters. And while the ever-evolving retail mix is one to impress, it’s the visual merchandising and critical attention to detail that instantly captures you as you enter the space.

What they do so well in many of their stores, but especially here, is thinking about what’s above your head as well as what’s on the rack and merchandised at eye-level. They cleverly activate big, open vertical spaces with material and stretched fabric like nylon, drawing your eye up and encouraging you to look around. Standing on a mezzanine looking down you even see a fixture set of denim with collection of potted plants shelved above. It’s the perfect example of how you can optimize the areas within a space and be true to the store.

Westfield World Trade Center

Just across the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll find Westfield’s newest shopping destination for beauty, fashion, and food. The focal point of the mall is the Oculus designed by Santiago Calatrava. The soaring architecture is breathtaking with a vaulted ceiling and white, steel columns that reach for the sky, joined together with a spine of skylights. Its sci-fi like structure tells you this space is light years from a traditional mall. Your common store directory has been replaced with a roving team of ambassadors armed with an iPad and the Westefield app, and as you begin to explore the diverse mix of stores (remember that’s why you came here) you’ll see some are harmonious in design, embracing the unique architectural elements and aesthetic.

As representation of resiliency and a center of commerce, community and culture, its important to remember what once was. The nearby the 9/11 memorial stands as physical reminder and beautiful example of urban architecture creating an emotional connection.

Want to see more hidden gems and exclusive finds in some of our favorite cities? Check out our New York Retail Roundup and Austin City Guide.

post by Jay Highland

post by:

Jay Highland

Jay has been instrumental in building CG’s diverse creative teams. Always challenging the status quo, he is a consummate retail design authority. You can read more posts from Jay here >

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