SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — Cupcake and frozen yogurt chains are in and artisan crafts are out in the Seaport’s new pop-up shops.
Brooklyn Flea regulars, who sold items including jewelry, maps and children’s toys, were kicked out of the Seaport’s shipping container storefronts last month, clearing the way for Magnolia Bakery, Pinkberry and other New York food shops to open soon in the temporary Fulton Street spaces, according to several vendors who asked not to be identified.
The retailers said Seaport developer Howard Hughes Corporation had offered them rent-free spots in the summer pop-ups as part of the company’s larger effort, called See/Change, to help bring visitors back to the Sandy-devastated neighborhood.
The lineup of six vendors — which included Birdhouse Jewelry, SKT Ceramics, Intaglio Prints and Sheepshead Design — were recommended by the Brooklyn Flea, which is also running the Seaport’s summer beer garden and food court, called Smorgasbar.
The pop-ups opened Memorial Day weekend and the plan was to remain in business for about seven weeks, several merchants said.
“We only had to give Howard Hughes a small commission [of sales],” one vendor said. “So, initially, we thought it was a good idea.”
But, the vendors said, it soon became apparent that their hand-crafted wares were not selling in the elevated shipping containers, which are topped by a Brooklyn Flea-run bar.
“We really weren’t making any money. We weren’t getting a lot of foot traffic,” said the vendor, who added that sales were much better at the Brooklyn Flea.
“We told Howard Hughes maybe we needed better signage, or something to let people know we were there, and they seemed receptive to wanting to help us out — but then, you know, they just wanted us out.”
On June 13, vendors said they were given notice that they needed to be out of the storefronts by the end of the next day.
"It felt pretty abrupt," said the vendor. "But leaving, ultimately, was probably for the best.
"It just wasn't working out."
Howard Hughes did not return a request for comment.