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Greenpoint Warehouse to Become Permanent Brooklyn Night Bazaar

By Meredith Hoffman | October 8, 2013 7:09am
 Brooklyn Night Bazaar is opening a permanent market at 29 Norman Ave.
Brooklyn Night Bazaar is opening a permanent market at 29 Norman Ave.
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Brooklyn Night Bazaar

GREENPOINT — The Asian-inspired night market that drew thousands of visitors to North Brooklyn with local crafts, food and drink vendors, indoor sports and music last holiday season is headed back to the neighborhood — this time to a permanent home.

Brooklyn Night Bazaar — which launched in 2011 as a four-night festival and then expanded to five weekends last year — is transforming a 24,000-square-foot former Greenpoint bakery into a year-round evening market come November, founder Aaron Broudo told Community Board 1 in an outline of his plan.

The bazaar, whose liquor license was approved by the board's liquor license committee last week, will be open every Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight and will feature about 20 food vendors nightly, plus dozens of other local vendors of crafts, vintage clothes and other goods.

The market will also offer mini golf, rock climbing, table tennis, the game pétanque and even a Chinese tea ceremony, according to Broudo's outline, along with light-focused art installations by local artists.

Food vendors at the market will include Roberta's Pizza, Luke's Lobster, Van Leeuwen ice cream, Pok Pok NY and Cafe Grumpy, Broudo's presentation to the community board said.

Later he said the vendors had not actually been finalized for this year's event but those vendors had sold food at the previous year's market.

"We're really excited...The last two years we did something [the] community really liked and was really supportive of," Broudo said, noting that he'd gotten 900 signatures on a petition for the market.

Broudo, who gained inspiration for the venture when he visited markets in southeast Asia, quit his job as a lawyer last year to dedicate all his energy to the market.

He said he has signed a lease for the whole building at 29 Norman Ave. for the market, which will accommodate as many as 600 visitors at a time. Broudo is sub-leasing some of the space to several food distributors.

To some local residents and industrial business advocates, however, the market's move into a building designed for food manufacturing caused concerns. 

The building is in North Brooklyn's industrial business zone, or IBZ, which was protected for industrial use when a 2005 rezoning designated the neighborhood primarily for commercial and residential use.

"This community won precious little from the rezoning but the industrial business zone, and to start encroaching into the IBZ is crossing a line to me. It's disturbing," said longtime resident Teresa Toro, who said the loss of an industrial business building would be yet another blow to local manufacturers.

Food manufacturers have found it increasingly difficult to find affordable space in Brooklyn, the executive director of EWVIDCO said, noting the bakery formerly operating in the space had decided the building had gotten too expensive to stay.

"We have more orders for food production space than we could possibly fill," said the executive director Leah Archibald. "It would be a shame to see such great manufacturing space for production go unused for production."

But Broudo said that his market was aiding the local economy in a more powerful way than if a food manufacturer were occupying the building, and he said that the past bakery's closure had nothing to do with his occupancy.

"Angel's Bakery decided to leave Brooklyn and moved to New Jersey well before we looked at or were aware of the premises being available," he said of the bakery.

"There will be an existing bakery and food distributor within the warehouse during our leasehold. Every night of the Bazaar, over 250 local jobs are created."

Broudo applied for and received a special permit that will allow him to use the industrial space for commercial activity.

Toro and other residents also expressed concerns over the effect of the crowds' influx to the area at night, but Broudo responded that he had received no noise complaints in the past and said he'd have at least 10 security staff on site.

"Our past events have occurred without incident or complaint in larger locations," Broudo said. "We look forward to working with and receiving the continued neighborhood support that we have had in the past."