On my desk hangs a photo that Amy and I took standing together on the road to Tulum. There was no such thing as a selfie. It was late November 2003. We ditched Thanksgiving in Brooklyn to clear our heads and chase the sun before we were to return and open Artists & Fleas on North 6th Street a few weeks later.
I remember waking up in a panic that first night wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.
We had a handshake deal with two cousins from the neighborhood whose family business, M&V Provisions, had occupied most of the industrial spaces on North 6th and Bedford — one space was for dry goods, another was a curing house for making sausages. They moved to Ridgewood a few years earlier when they could afford a bigger building on a wider street to accommodate 4AM deliveries and tractor trailers.
A late night bike ride down North 6th street after swimming at the pool on Metropolitan when it still had some of the sheen from a recent renovation and the subsequent phone call that resulted in a handshake set Amy and me on a thrilling adventure that seems to capture so much of the vibe of and attraction to current day Brooklyn.
Looking back on it all 10 years later as I do quite often, I am filled with so many thoughts and feelings. Appreciation. Admiration. Anxiety. I am and have always been a deeply nostalgic person – not yearning for the past but connected to it for the richness that it provided and how those riches continue to inform so much of my current experience. The creative community – the artists, the makers, the collectors – and the enterprising people Amy and I have had the chance to meet, to talk with, to shop from, to watch, to learn, to grow is a culture and a force and it’s what makes New York City so welcoming, so interesting and so fresh. And it makes New York the kind of place that even in it’s harshest of moments I cannot imagine living without.
Thanks, Williamsburg. Thanks to thousands of doers and dreamers. Thanks, Amy. The next 10 years begins now.