The Mystery of Brocante
The store that defies NYC logic.
I've lived on the same block of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn for 7 years.
It’s a Brooklyn-y Brooklyn strip, full of fancy jewelry stores, rich lady boutiques, and a store called “Primary Essentials” which does not sell anything primary or essential.
But there’s one store that’s not like the others: Brocante. Vintage goods. Records. Posters. Old neon signs.
But the thing is, it’s never once been open.
One day in 2014, on the eve of the release of Beck’s “Morning Phase” they were set to return at 12:55pm, and they never did.
Rents on this street go for $3k+ /month. Since 2014, this landlord has forgone over $325,000 in rent to leave this store frozen in time.
New York City has some unbreakable laws of logic and this store has broken them.
I can’t get the store out of my head. I’m haunted by it. It makes no sense.
What happened to Brocante?!
I’m going to find out.
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I’ve been joking with my wife for 7 years that I’m going to figure out what’s going on here. We’ve even done a half-assed search once or twice over a glass of wine.
But I haven’t been able to get myself to follow through with it. Why?
-I assume the answer is probably not that interesting
-I have plenty of other things that deserve my attention
-I’m not an investigative journalist
And yet, I am conspiring with you to find a way to justify the investigation.
There’s something pulling me here and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
This is exactly why I created “Or Maybe…,” to give myself something permission to follow these kind of half curiosities and make meaning of the process, even if they don’t bare fruit.
I’ve learned that without a container, a collaborator or a conversation, I can’t really endeavor to chart new territory on my own. I wish that weren’t the case, but I’ve come to accept that it makes complete sense based on my childhood experiences. Experiences Beck spoke to on that very album:
I'm so tired of being alone
These penitent walls are all I've known
Songbird calling across the water
Inside my silent asylum
Oh don't leave me on my own
Left me standing all alone
Cut me down to size so I can fit inside
Lies that will divide us both in time
"Blue Moon" - Beck, Morning Phase
Let’s see what that store has in store.
What do you think happened to Brocante?