Dandelion Coffee Maker Starts Bushwick Flea Market

By Meredith Hoffman on May 9, 2012 11:49am | Updated on May 9, 2012 1:59pm

Courtney Novak visited the farmers market in Union Square. She's planning a Bushwick market that opens May 19.
Courtney Novak visited the farmers market in Union Square. She's planning a Bushwick market that opens May 19.
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Courtney Novak

BUSHWICK—Courtney Novak's homemade jars of dandelion coffee were splayed out before her at a Ridgewood, Queens farmers market last month, when an idea hit her—she needed to start a flea by her own Bushwick apartment.

"That was two weeks ago and since then I've been on a mission," said Novak, 30, who realized she wanted to emulate the market in her hometown, Troy, New York.

Novak quickly found a spot for the event—the Morgan restaurant's 9,000 square-foot empty lot on 19 Bogart Street, just blocks from the Morgan L train stop. The weekly fair can accommodate more than 30 vending tables and kicks off Saturday, May 19.

"It’s a huge space, it's like this huge elephant that’s just hidden and it's really funny," said Novak of the currently unused space, which she is renting on a weekly basis from the Morgan. Novak, a yoga teacher, artist, and maker of a dandelion coffee-alternative drink (which she calls DandEchic), envisions the market as a "multisensory event" with food, clothes, and live music.

She currently has booked a few vintage clothing vendors, Gone Pie vegan bakery, a tarot reader named Crystal, and her friend's musical group, Splash Band, which she calls a "boy band pop takeover."

She also invited a ukulele player she met yesterday in the Bedford L subway station.

"I wrote on the back of a flyer 'I'd love to have you play at the market,' and he texted back to say he would. I'm so excited," she said.

Now she's seeking a masseuse to set up a massage table, as well as dozens more vendors to join the fair.

"It's a labor of love more than anything else," said Novak. "It's feeding me because I'm so excited about it."

Mike Morgan, the owner of the Morgan who is renting Novak the space on a weekly basis, said the market would both fill his empty lot, and answer a need in the community.

"Bushwick is lacking a formal  cultural market," wrote Morgan in an email. "There's so much talent out here and also so much brick and metal everywhere. Where my veggies @."

Morgan said he was glad the former junk yard could finally offer fresh food and an opportunity for vendors.

Courtney Novak was inspired by a recent experience at the Onderdonk Flea Market to start a market in Bushwick. The market kicks off May 19 and will run every Saturday afternoon this summer.
Courtney Novak was inspired by a recent experience at the Onderdonk Flea Market to start a market in Bushwick. The market kicks off May 19 and will run every Saturday afternoon this summer.
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Courtney Novak

"I'd like to be able to buy and taste real produce and not what's at the local supermarket," he said. "Also I think people should be able  to vend in a safe creative atmosphere."

The first market is 11 a.m.—4 p.m. Saturday, May 19. Interested vendors and performers can find Novak's contact information on the BK Farm and Flea website.

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