I was recently told by a friend, through a Facebook comment, that the world might be getting tired of Brooklyn and I can totally see that possibility. Over-hyped and over-priced, the borough is ingloriously in danger of eating itself and choking on it's proverbial gluten-free muffin.
Whether it's Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge or the Brooklyn Dodgers, there's always been a mystique about the borough that Brooklynites championed and it's many things that have been a source of Brooklyn pride. But, since the turn of our current century, the ubiquity of broad-band Internet access has seemingly turned every laptop user into a blogging, Vlogging, Brooklyn pom-pom waver, and has ratcheted up the fandom to cacophonous levels (Hello? Waiting 2 hours for basic pizza at Grimaldi's).
The quintessential Brooklyn accent is nearly extinct. But there are still websites telling people in foreign countries, that it's still a gaggle of folks walking around Brooklyn saying "Fuhgeddaboudit," like we live in a time-warped, Scorsese flick. And I won't even talk about Williamsburg, Hipsters, Farm to Table or artisinal anything.
Fortunately the new pop-up store, Installation Market, stylishly perched at 733 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, has come along to return substance back to the Brooklyn hype machine.
It takes a hybrid pop-up store/vendors market/art & culture destination, that brings a righteous curatorial direction, mixing select offerings from a broad range of product categories and a smart range of pricing, to remind why the contemporary Brooklyn trope of being on fleek and cutting edge, still has roots in the ground.
The very nature of Brooklyn breeds the need to open a spot like Installation Market, which I was introduced to at the opening party, by owner Israel David. It was Friday the 13th, NBA All Star Weekend, Valentine's Day Weekend, Fashion Week, President's Day Weekend all on the same day, and it was also colder than a NYPD reaction to Mayor de Blasio. That's a lot of different energies converging on one winter Friday, but helping to battle old man winter, was Rhum Barbencourt, who sponsored the opening, and came through in the clutch. They kept the libation flowing, as I partook in several straight-up servings of the 15-year Estate Reserve and felt thoroughly enlivened through the combination of the rum spirit and the event's energy.
It was live performances, headlined by Ioan Delice and DJ performances, headlined by Tall Paul, while Lamchops was on food duty, turning out tacos for the good looking, fashionable audience.
There were a few vendors that I was drawn to during the event. One of them was Jennilyn Merten, a documentary film maker and partner in Left Turn Films, who had a collection of items at Installation Market, from a beautiful bureau that she redid in cedar and marble, to mirrors and jewelry that she sourced at estate sales. All of Jennilyn's pieces had a classic, romantic quality about them and literally sold off the wall before the event even started, as a customer snatched up an exquisite mirror, handing over cash before they even got to a cash register.
Also available at Installation Market, is the winter collection from hat maker Rene Mantilla, who shot onto the international stage when Pharrell Williams wore his broad brimmed hat in the ubiquitous "Happy" music video. The hats can be seen topping fashionable domes across the city and were right at home in the eclectic shop.
Since it was NBA All-Star weekend, it was fitting that Installation had a strong basketball presence with classic NBA jerseys colorfully represented and a collection of original Air Jordans and a few pairs of original Air Jordan 1's, that had a dedicated cadre of sneaker lovers hovering by the kicks for the entire event.
And the artist Chet Moral created a neo-abstract mural on the wall, that after my third Rhum Barbencourt 15 year reserve, started to take on an additional level of complexity and nuance. It centered the room and added to the artistry of the evening.
It's a fresh breath of oxygen when a business opens up and from the rip, is dedicated to a creative curation of goods, incorporates art and music, while also bridging the traditional boutique, retail model, with a weekend vendors market.
As vendor markets go, it's rather intimate and space is at a premium. But it's just big enough for you to wander around and the sense of discovery makes every minute in Installation Market, time well spent. I was a bit too turnt during the opening party and didn't stop to pick up something to wear on the next Dick & Dave segment on BK Live, but I'll be visiting the shop again real soon.
And if you're trying to ditch the Brooklyn hype machine and experience an authentically interesting and creatively curated retail situation, you should be heading over to Installation Market in Crown Heights, as well. Shop is open daily from 1pm-8pm and their social networking touch point (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud) is @InstallationNYC.