Whose Mall Is It Anyway: Will Brooklyn Flock to Fulton Street’s New Chain Stores?

Isn't That Why We Left Pittsburgh Behind to Begin With?

p1020783 Whose Mall Is It Anyway: Will Brooklyn Flock to Fulton Streets New Chain Stores?

CityPoint takes shape.

“Can you believe this? They just tried to charge me $50 for this, just ‘cause it says Sony on the side.” James Sanders was standing outside CompuWorld just after sunset on Monday, a grey beanie on his head and burgundy Versace scarf on his neck. Mr. Sanders had managed to barter the men behind the counter down to $10 in only five minutes of work.

Mr. Sanders grew up in the neighborhood, and even though he now lives near Columbus Circle, he said he makes the trip down at least once a week to do his shopping. “You come down here to Downtown Brooklyn, they will always work with you,” Mr. Sanders said. “They never want to let the money walk out the door. You could never do that at a name store. It’s embarrassing, you could come by every day, they still don’t know you.”

Just then, a pack of screaming teenagers could be heard from a few blocks away. At least a hundred of them were packed around a pair of men, there was shouting, it seemed perhaps a fight. It turned out to be the rapper Drake, who stopped into Quick Strike, one of the strips remaining hat-and-shoe outlets. He picked up a Toronto Blue Jays cap, representing his hometown team. Even in Canada, they know the Fulton Mall. Would Drake really have come to shop at Lids down the block?

Lauri Cumbo, a Fort Greene fixture who founded the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, argues that the loss of the mom and pops is bad, but worse is the erosion of the mall’s culture. She points out that while the Bronx may have been the birthplace of hip hop, the Fulton Mall is where it grew up, with Biz Marquee and Biggie Smalls rapping on the corner. “The way things are going, entrepreneurship will be smothered all together,” she said. “There will be no room for creativity or originality. People may still shop here, but there will be no community.”

At the Brooklyn Fare grocery on Fulton Street, Chris, who lives nearby, was shopping for dinner with his girlfriend. They were deciding which humus to get, and settled on Three Kings. Did he do much shopping on Fulton Mall? Would he if the stores were to change?

“I mostly come here to shop, or on Atlantic and Court,” he said. “It’s different types of stores over there, and it feels too much like the city. I moved out here a month ago, and I did it to get away from all that.”

mchaban@observer.com

Comments

  1. CK says:

    Good story. Two things, though: Brooklyn Fare is on Schermerhorn Street, and that store in the first photo seems to be having a never-ending going out of business sale.  

  2. Azi Graber says:

    A commercial rent-control is completely unjustified; at least with regards to residential leases a case can be made about the necessity of affordable housing. But now we need the city to protect people from bad business decisions, or a changing market? 

  3. Douche says:

    Biz Markie. Sigh.

  4. Dashmaz says:

    Now Biz Markie raps on the kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba. Things change.
    I think it will be great for the Fulton Mall to offer a more diverse shopping experience. Nobody wants all the mom-and-pops pushed out, but there is a place for H&M and TJ Maxx, etc., too.
    P.S. Matt Chaban, discover spell-check.  Really, “figurativelyh”?

  5. This is a good thing. The Fulton mall is such a dump. How many pager stores, cheap jewelry and sneaker outlets does a shopping center need? It doesn’t cater to black or white, it caters to hoods and drug dealers.

    1. Youareanidiot says:

      You are clearly an ignorant moron. I shop on Fulon Mall and I am not a drug dealer.

  6. Jpe3318806 says:

    if you  folks really knew the man and knew the e..l that lurks

  7. Emiayo says:

    “The hard part is, black people will shop where white people shop, they don’t have a choice,” one veteran Brooklyn broker said. “It doesn’t work the other way around.”  Matt Chopin – What kind of stupid statement is that and you single it out in your article.  I’m not sure what point you as the writer of this article or the idiot you quoted is trying make.