Brooklyn Night Bazaar Moves From Greenpoint to Jacob Riis Park Beach
When the music gods slam a door shut, they're at least courteous enough to crank open a window — and one that lets in a sea breeze at that.
May 23 will be the final night for the Brooklyn Night Bazaar due to an increase in rent at its Greenpoint address on Norman Avenue — but that same Memorial Day weekend will bring the debut of its seasonal counter: the Riis Park Beach Bazaar. This substitute fair will run throughout the summer, extending to Labor Day.
Though the announcement of the Riis Park Beach Bazaar ushers in an exciting new endeavor, it's all only a temporary fix. "Riis Park was always meant to just be an expansion of Brooklyn Bazaar, not a wholesale move. It would have been two separate operations," Brooklyn Night Bazaar co-founder and owner Belvy Klein tells the Voice. "We only found out we were being evicted from our Greenpoint location, like, 72 hours ago, so it's been pretty crazy how all this went down."
For two and a half years, Brooklyn Night Bazaar has offered the borough a unique destination for neat trinkets and consistently great live acts. It was only a few months ago, in January, that the rising Brooklyn-via-Nashville songstress Torres performed at the always free-of-charge Bazaar — and soon a swan song will buzz loudly with the final headliner, noise-punk messiahs Perfect Pussy.
Klein founded and operates Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Aaron Broudo; the idea sprang from a trip to Southeast Asia on which Broudo experienced the region's massive outdoor markets. Upon Broudo's return to the States, the pair set about creating their own bazaar, with the intention of incorporating as many intriguing elements as possible, from ping-pong to black-light mini-golf.
"We just needed to come up with a way to make it more than just another tired flea market," Klein recalls. "So we said, 'Let's do it at night, do food, add an arcade, do music, give it more of a nightclub vibe' — ya know, just make it sexy. And it took off from there. It became, essentially, this mini-festival that would re-create itself every weekend. And we always kept it free and DIY."
The closing and forced adaptation of BKNB is yet another development in the reshaping of North Brooklyn that's clobbered live-music outlets such as 285 Kent, Death by Audio, Glasslands, and the Brooklyn Bowl (which is expected to relocate in the not-too-distant future). Klein is deeply disappointed that BKNB has now fallen prey to the transformation of the area. (The warehouse where BKNB currently operates will soon give way to BMW.)
"I get that the culture and soul of this city has been getting sucked out for years, but when it happens to you this personally, it's that much more sobering," Klein says. "In the end, the ever-skyrocketing cost of Brooklyn real estate was something that made staying at the warehouse an impossibility. You wonder how it's even possible anymore to operate a venue that doesn't have massive financial or corporate backing."
But before the 29 Norman Ave. warehouse's doors are sealed for good, Brooklyn Night Bazaar offers two more weekends of free music, including Daptone Records' Saun and Starr, A Place to Bury Strangers, Breakdown Brass Band, Priests, and more. Klein considers himself an old punk-rock kid, and when looking back at the long list of previous performers, he fondly counts Ceremony, Paint It Black, Diarrhea Planet's Halloween show, Mac DeMarco, Fucked Up, the Hold Steady, and the Menzingers among many others as personal highlights in the market's run.
Although this was all unexpected, Klein is already planning for what happens next.
"We will continue to look at new spaces for the next incarnation of Brooklyn Night Bazaar," he says. "This is the third time since 2011 we've been booted out of somewhere for someone bigger with a shit-ton more money. It sucks, but that's what happens when you're a DIY business/venue in 2015 NYC. But we'll come back. We always do."
See also: Hunters at Brooklyn Night Bazaar Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves on Her New Label, Honor Press: 'No Snobs, No Phonies, No Shitheads' Will Brooklyn's Insane Real Estate Market Doom This Long-Stalled Park?
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.