Rites of Spring
In the two years since it opened, the Brooklyn Flea has gone from a neighborhood novelty to something that I look forward to each year. I knew it would be crowded but made a plan to meet a friend there when it re-opened its outdoor location in Fort Greene’s Bishop Laughlin Memorial High School this weekend. Slowly working our way through the aisles, I always go with the same hope, that the stands will be full of new (to market) retro kitchen gadgets and that the Red Hook Vendors will be there selling pupusas, tamales, grilled corn sprinkled with chile, and agua fresca.
I was determined to bypass the lobster rolls and asia dogs that were drawing crowds though the biggest line is inevitably in front of the Red Hook stand. I usually make a beeline for the corn but decided to try the pupusas, the Salvadorean cornmeal cakes that have become a market staple, instead.
After waiting in a line that was buzzing with anticipation, I placed my order for a bean stuffed tamal and the day’s special, a pupusa stuffed with flor de loroco, the tiny flower buds used as an herb throughout Central America. The manager said yes to my taking pictures and I said yes to anything he wanted to add to my platter until it was a chaotic mix of vinegar soaked onions, pickled cabbage and sliced peppers. When I finally found a spot on the crowded steps that face the market to eat my jumble of flowers, I was happy to put the long winter behind me and look ahead to the pretty season that was just beginning.