Enclosed in a chain-metal fence with a few nondescript shipping containers within sight, from afar it may be easy to miss Dekalb Market in Downtown Brooklyn. However, this outdoor urban space deserves a comprehensive meandering.

I ventured into the marketplace on a Wednesday afternoon after the lunch rush and this enclosed space offered a retreat from the normal hectic pace of city life.

All of the retailers and food vendors conduct their businesses from salvaged shipping containers, a particular type of renovation that has gained momentum in the past few years. This transformation of purpose, from carrying cargo to housing food stalls and boutiques, challenges the idea of how one form can perform multiple functions in different contexts.  Additionally, the exterior shell of the containers and outdoor area maintain an industrial aesthetic while on the contrary, the interior of these stores shed this style and instead assume a chic atmosphere typical of a storefront boutique.  Sustainability practices are evident beyond the use of shipping containers, especially with the urban-agriculture workshops at the farm that is also located within the market.

Now as for the shopping, there are several high-end boutiques and specialty shops that are Etsy-esque in style (in fact, several entrepreneurs do have Etsy accounts). Never Let Me Go and Etsy Artist Assembly are just a couple of the stores that I explored. In addition to the jewelry that is sold at both stores, Never Let Me Go also sells photography collages set onto wood panels while Etsy Artist Assembly offers hanging air plants in clear glass pots. Then, just for fun, I checked out Far Far Away Toys, a haven for any Trekkie, Star Wars enthusiast, or comic book fan. The owner, Gary Hernandez, has been collecting memorabilia for the past three decades.

Interior of Never Let Me Go

Tucked away in one of the corners is Robicelli’s, a must-go and must-eat bakery and cupcake place. I inquired specifically about their cupcakes (seeing as positive reviews occupy one of their walls) and they have over 200 cupcake recipes that are on rotation throughout the season.

From the right: The Ebinger, Tres Leches, and Dark Chocolate Dulce

Afterwards (in a bizarre sequence) I sampled the buffalo and barbecue chicken wings at Dekalb Wings. The chicken was tender and the sauce was flavorful, so thus I was very content. The hand wipes the owner handed to me earlier definitely came in handy after devouring this meal.

Dekalb Market is a fun and quirky place to window-shop (maybe indulge in buying a couple specialty items), have a meal, and read a book during the week. However, the market also hosts several events during the weekend which are listed here.

Get in touch with the author @iyisak