New York City's largest nocturnal flea market/indie music venue/food court is being displaced by the world's largest luxury auto maker. As of June 1st, the Brooklyn Night Bazaar has to vacate its 23,000 square-foot warehouse on Banker Street near Wythe and North 15th so that BMW can move in. Say what you will about Williamsburg's Herschel-toting Amex dilettantes, at least they left the city to buy their SUVs.
Belvy Klein, who co-founded and co-owns the Brooklyn Night Bazaar with Aaron Broudo, said that the eviction "hit us like a nuclear bomb."
"The building owner did offer us to match, but it was basically close to 8 to 10 times what we are currently paying, which is just a number not even remotely on our radar," Klein wrote in an email.
"You do have to wonder how it's even possible anymore to operate a venue that doesn't have massive financial backing. Coming from a punk rock/DIY background personally, to see venue after venue basically fall victim to the same developer/price-you-out scenario is really depressing. And as a native New Yorker, it pisses me off even more to see how unrecognizable this city has, and continues to, become."
Klein confirmed that BMW would be the new tenant, but couldn't provide any specifics. A representative from BMW has not yet responded to our request for comment.
The Brooklyn Night Bazaar just announced a series of outdoor shows at Riis Park, dubbed the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, beginning next weekend. Klein says that "up until 48 hours ago, we were looking at Riis as just an expansion of the Night Bazaar," and that he'll continue to look for a space in the city to put the Night Bazaar. But for now, the beach is the brand's sole incarnation [Full disclosure: Gothamist is a "media partner" for the Riis Park events].
"Riis Park is an absolutely gorgeous beach right on the Atlantic, but if you do a quick 180, you actually see the skyline of the City," Klein says. "With no condos or high rises blocking the view."
[UPDATE] A spokesperson from the car manufacturer provided us with this statement:
BMW Group has signed a rental agreement with the owners of the Banker Street building in question. There are no plans to use the building for either retail or corporate purposes from our side. We are still in the planning stages at this time. More details will be communicated at a later date.